Zika

Colombia says two cases of microcephaly linked to Zika virus

File photo shows an Aedes aegypti mosquito inside a test tube as part of a research on preventing the spread of the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases at a control and prevention center in Guadalupe, neighbouring Monterrey

File photo shows an Aedes aegypti mosquito inside a test tube as part of a research on preventing the spread of the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases at a control and prevention center in Guadalupe, neighbouring Monterrey  (Copyright Reuters 2016)

Colombia's health ministry said on Thursday it had confirmed two cases of the rare birth defect microcephaly are connected to the mosquito-borne Zika virus, after the disease was linked to more than a thousand confirmed cases of microcephaly in Brazil.

According to the World Health Organization, there is a strong scientific consensus that Zika can cause microcephaly as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that can result in paralysis, though conclusive proof may take months or years.

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U.S. health officials said on Wednesday that infection with the Zika virus during pregnancy causes microcephaly, a finding experts hope will refocus attention on prevention efforts.