World

Colombia president says more than 3,000 women in the nation diagnosed with Zika virus

This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. On Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, U.S. health officials are telling pregnant women to avoid travel to Latin America and Caribbean countries with outbreaks of a tropical illness linked to birth defects. The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites from Aedes aegypti and causes only a mild illness in most people. But thereâs been mounting evidence linking the virus to a surge of a rare birth defect in Brazil. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. On Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, U.S. health officials are telling pregnant women to avoid travel to Latin America and Caribbean countries with outbreaks of a tropical illness linked to birth defects. The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites from Aedes aegypti and causes only a mild illness in most people. But there√Ęs been mounting evidence linking the virus to a surge of a rare birth defect in Brazil. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday that there's no evidence Zika has caused any cases of the birth defect known as microcephaly in his country, though it has diagnosed 3,177 pregnant women with the virus.

Santos also announced that a U.S. medical-scientific team will arrive in Colombia to help investigate the mosquito-borne virus.

Brazilian officials say they suspect Zika is behind a seemingly unusual number of microcephaly cases, in which children are born with unusually small heads. The link is not confirmed, but it has helped prompt the World Health Organization to declare an emergency over the virus.

Santos says Zika apparently has affected more than 25,600 Colombians overall.

Colombian officials said Friday that three people had died of the paralyzing Guillain-Barre syndrome they attributed to cases of Zika.

More On This...

To date, the mosquito-borne virus has spread to more than 20 countries in the Americas.

With global concern over the Zika virus growing, health officials are warning pregnant women to be careful about who they kiss and calling on men to use condoms with pregnant partners if they have visited countries where the virus is present.

The flurry of recommendations began in Brazil, where a top health official said that scientists have found live virus in saliva and urine samples, and the possibility it could be spread by the two body fluids requires further study.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter & Instagram