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 Continued surveillance on the Zika virus in Colombia

Ministerio de Salud y Protección Social > English > Continued surveillance on the Zika virus in Colombia

Minister Alejandro Gaviria reiterated, once again, that all pregnant women with suspected or confirmed Zika should be classified as having a highrisk pregnancy and should be cared for by the specialist as the country has Press Release

Press release

No. 004 of 2016

Video: Press conference on the Zika virus surveillance in Colombia
Audio: Press surveillance Zika

Audio: Press conference, questions and answers on Zika surveillance

- More than 500 pregnant women are being strictly and nominally monitored by the health care providers (IPSs) and health promotion organizations (EPSs), consistent with the guidelines of the National Government.

Bogota (DC), January 20, 2016. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the National Institute of Health (INS) reiterated following the prevention measures against the Zika virus, which, according to the latest epidemiological bulletin, has reached 13,531 cases Colombia.

Minister Alejandro Gaviria reiterated, once again, that all pregnant women with suspected or confirmed Zika should be classified as having a high-risk pregnancy and should be cared for by the specialist as the country has defined.

Deputy Minister of Health and Service Delivery, Fernando Ruiz, said they have issued three circulars with instructions on case reporting and care; and that recently, a text highlighting 14 key points was emailed to more than 50,000 physicians and health care provider (IPS) contacts in the country, indicating the care of people with Zika who are pregnant or showing neurological complications.

In this regard, he noted that 12 cases of people with neurological syndromes associated with symptoms consistent with Zika virus, coincident with Guillain-Barre syndrome, have been notified to the National System of Public Health Surveillance (SIVIGILA). “12 cases have been reported in the provinces of Norte de Santander and San Andrés, five of which are women and seven are men.”

However, Ruiz said they are studying 29 reports from other local entities from Cartagena, Sucre, Córdoba, Bolívar and Cundinamarca. The executive also said that as of next week, a preventive campaign will be launched throughout the country and it has been called the Colombia Tour against Zika.

The Deputy Minister asked the National Institute of Health to conduct a retrospective study just as the Brazilian health authorities are performing at this time.

Meanwhile, Martha Lucia Ospina, Director General of the National Institute of Health, said that of the 13,531 Zika cases reported in the country, 776 have been confirmed by laboratory, 10,837 by clinic and 1,918 are still suspect.

Ospina said that 560 pregnant women have been monitored, of which 429 have been confirmed by clinical and 30 by laboratory PCR testing. Martha Lucia Ospina further stated that: “To date, 106 babies have been born of mothers diagnosed with Zika; all are being tracked to confirm or rule out changes.”

She emphasized that “some of these children will require monitoring until they are one year old; in others we will confirm changes associated with Zika in maximum four weeks.”

At the time of this press conference, changes have been ruled out and more than 26 healthy children have been confirmed. “However, we also continue performing a nominal monitoring to unborn children to determine their status and ensure that they are receiving the required care,” he said.


1. All pregnant women with the characteristic Zika symptoms (fever or discomfort, eye redness or rash) should always consult the health services. This recommendation should be widely disseminated by the local entities, the health promotion organizations (EPSs) and health care providers (IPSs).

2. The IPSs shall classify and handle these cases as high-risk pregnancies, therefore they should be treated by ObGyns; if the IPSs do not have such specialists, these women must be referred elsewhere.

3. In emergency services, such cases must be addressed without barriers, and as such should be classified as Triage 2.

4. Blood samples must be taken, and then sent to the province public health laboratory.

5. All these cases should be reported to SIVIGILA and recorded as pertaining to pregnant women.

6. The EPSs must ensure continuous ultrasound monitoring during all pregnancy period.

Although reproduction will always be a free choice of the partner or of the women of childbearing age, the Ministry of Health considers it necessary to warn of the risks relating to the exercise of this right, in an informed manner. Consequently, the recommendation is to postpone, as possible, the decision to become pregnant, until the Zika epidemic phase has passed. This is for people living up to 2,200 meters above sea level, and also to restrict travel of pregnant women who live above this level.

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