Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has announced that more than 3,100 pregnant women in his country have become infected with the Zika virus.
As the mosquito-borne disease continues its rapid spread across the Americas, there are 25,645 people infected with the disease, among them are 3,177 pregnant women.
“The projection is that we could end up having 600,000 cases,” Mr Santos said, adding there could be up to 1,000 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome – which some governments have linked to Zika infection. This rare but serious condition can cause paralysis to patients.
He said the Government was now uncertain about a previous projection for up to 500 cases of Zika-linked microcephaly, another rare neurological condition in which children are born with unusually small heads and associated potential brain damage. The Government has urged women to delay pregnancy for six to eight months.
The Government also said that the reality is that unreported cases throughout the country could mean that there are between 80,000 and 100,000 current Zika infections in Colombia.
An estimated 80 per cent of those infected with Zika show no symptoms, and those that do have a mild illness, with a fever, rash and red eyes.
There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease.
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