Only 20 new zika cases confirmed over past week, health ministry

The nation’s confirmed zika virus cases have reached 127 with the bulk, 77 cases, being in the canton of Garabito, which contains the community of Jacó.

The Ministerio de Salud figures show a modest increase from the previous week when there were 107 reported cases with 67 in the Jacó area. The slight increase probably is due in large part by efforts by health workers to spray sections of Jacó where the bulk of the affected patients live.

A citizens organization, now called JacoZikaSafe, also is waging an awareness campaign. The organization has scheduled a cleanup of potential mosquito breeding spots for June 29 and 30. Since there is no vaccine for zika, other methods are needed to keep the spread of the virus in check.

Parrita also showed an increase in cases, according to the health ministry’s figures. There are now 12 cases in the central Pacific community instead of the nine the week before.

Some 17 other cantons have from one to four cases. The ministry figures were current as of Wednesday.

So far there are no reported complications with pregnant women or any cases of brain damage in adults due to the virus, said the ministry.

An abortion advocate organization, the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that the zika crisis was generating requests for women for abortions even when they are in countries with legal prohibitions.

The organization cited a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine to show that women will “take whatever steps necessary to control their fertility, health and lives.”

The report in the prestigious medical journal said that contacts from Latin America to a specific women’s Web site had increased. Those who operate the Web site direct women to medicines or professionals if they choose to have an abortion.

The study was mainly by Texas, Dutch and British academics. The methodology was complex, but the study seemed to say that 67 women from Costa Rica contacted the Web site either through email or another way since the zika problem became major news last year.

“We cannot definitively attribute the rapid acceleration in number of requests to worries about zika,” said the study. “However, the geographical pattern of increase is strongly suggestive.”

All Latin countries, except Chile, showed increases in informational contacts regardless of the laws. The Aedes mosquito does not breed in Chile, the study said.

JacóZikaSafe recycling campaign poster.

JacóZikaSafe recycling campaign poster.

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