From The Tico Times
May 23, 2019
Health authorities reported Wednesday that the births of children with microcephaly in Costa Rica have quadrupled since the appearance of the Zika virus in 2016.
According to data from the Costa Rican Nutrition and Health Research Institute (INCIENSA), between 2011 and 2015, an average of 30 cases of microcephaly were recorded in national territory. That figure increased to 163 in 2017.
Microcephaly is a neonatal malformation characterized by a head much smaller than that of other children of the same age and sex. It is caused by the Zika virus.
Children with microcephaly may have delayed speech and motor function development, visual and hearing impairments, or other problems associated with neurological abnormalities.
According to INCIENSA, the first imported cases of Zika in Costa Rica were detected in February 2016, before the confirmation of the first autochthonous cases and first outbreaks.
The Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
Given the increase in cases of microcephaly, the Health Ministry and the Costa Rican Social Security System (Caja) are coordinating a strategy whereby all pregnant women from 31 priority cantons receive a preventive kit containing mosquito net, male and female condoms, and repellent.