Pre­lim re­sults for mi­cro­cephaly study to be re­leased next week

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

PRE­LIM­I­NARY RE­SULTS from a gov­ern­ment study that is ex­pected to pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion on the state of mi­cro­cephaly in Ja­maica is ex­pected to be avail­able next week Fri­day.

Mi­cro­cephaly is a con­di­tion in which ba­bies are born with ab­nor­mally small heads.

The con­di­tion has many causes, but its link with the mos­quito-borne Zika virus has trig­gered pub­lic con­cerns.

Yes­ter­day, Dr Karen Web­ster, head of epi­demi­ol­ogy in the health min­istry, dis­closed that since Jan­uary 1, Ja­maica has had three cases of the con­di­tion, none of which has been linked to Zika.

She said the re­sults of the study, which in­volves ba­bies born be­tween Au­gust and De­cem­ber 2013, will help to give a more ac­cu­rate fig­ure of the es­ti­mated num­ber of mi­cro­cephaly cases.

It is es­ti­mated that about 2.1

The data we have cur­rently in-house speak to the hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions. It is not speak­ing to ba­bies who would have been seen in the out­pa­tient depart­ment.

per cent of a pop­u­la­tion will have mi­cro­cephaly, and Web­ster said cur­rent data show that 777 ba­bies will be born with the con­di­tion.

“How­ever, some say that this might be an over­es­ti­ma­tion of the num­ber of mi­cro­cephaly that we will see. The data we have cur­rently in-house speak to the hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions. It is not speak­ing to ba­bies who would have been seen in the out­pa­tient depart­ment. The re­sults [of the study] will give a bet­ter idea of what are Ja­maica’s fig­ures,” she said.

The health min­istry, Dr Web­ster said, is also work­ing with the Univer­sity of the West Indies on two other stud­ies to get more ac­cu­rate fig­ures.

Up to last Fri­day, the min­istry said 41 preg­nant women were lab­o­ra­tory con­firmed for Zika, with another 582 sus­pected.

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