Monday, October 31, 2016

Why is there so little microcephaly in Colombia?

It's welcome news, certainly, but a puzzling mystery nonetheless. Colombia's Zika outbreak has been second only to Brazil's in magnitude. Based on Brazil's 2,000 cases of microcephaly and counting, officials predicted upwards of 700 such cases in Colombia by the end of this year. Yet only 47 have so far been counted.

Experts point to a couple of different possibilities to explain this difference. One hypothesis is that pregnant women in Colombia underwent abortions at higher rates than their Brazilian counterparts. Unlike in Brazil, abortion in Colombia is legal in the case that a fetus is severely deformed, as this is viewed as a threat to the mother's mental health.

Another possibility is that many women followed the government's advice to delay pregnancy.

- Julia Daniel


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