13-case increase in zika reported for week

The health ministry is reporting just a 13-case increase in zika as of Wednesday. But there is another pregnant woman who has the virus.

The bulk of the increase was in the canton of Garabito where Jaco is located. There were nine new cases there bringing the total to 86, according to ministry statistics.

There also are 10 cases in Parrita, said the Ministerio de Salud. At least 11 cantons have one or two cases.

Zika has the most emphasis among the virus diseases because of the possibility that unborn children can become infected and suffer from small heads, called microcephaly.

But some doubt has been cast on zika as the primary cause. A U.S. study said that of the many pregnant women infected with zika in Colombia, there has not been a spike in  microcephaly.  The study contrasted this with Brazil where there are many cases of  microcephaly. The study speculated that pesticide might be the real cause.

No infected woman in Costa Rica has shown signs that her unborn child has been harmed, said the ministry.

Meanwhile, David O’Connor, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who is working on a zika vaccine, said that to the best of his knowledge there is only one strain of zika. That is different than dengue which has at least five varieties. That means only one vaccine is needed.

“It is possible that others remain undiscovered in Africa, but to the best of our knowledge these aren’t spreading in humans and definitely aren’t in the Americas,” O’Connor said in an email. He was testifying before Congress Wednesday.

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