Thursday, March 17, 2016 7:23 am
Cape Verde has identified its first case of the neurological disorder microcephaly, thought to be linked to the Zika virus, in what would be a first for Africa.
The Ministry of Health said the baby was born at the main hospital in the capital Praia on March 14 to a woman who was not among more than 100 women being monitored for the mosquito-borne virus.
Cape Verde is a volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean around 570 km (350 miles) west of Senegal. It has historic ties to Brazil, where an outbreak of Zika is suspected of causing a spike in birth defects including babies born with abnormally small heads.
The World Health Organization in February declared the virus an international public health emergency due to its link to the birth defects in Brazil.
Authorities in West Africa are seeking to prepare the region’s defences in case of a spread of Zika but say countries are ill-equipped for another public health emergency following the Ebola epidemic that was first announced in March 2014.
The Cape Verde government says more than 7,000 cases of Zika have been recorded since the beginning of the epidemic in October 2015, with heavier than normal rains last summer boosting mosquito numbers.