Q COSTA RICA – The Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud) confirmed Wednesday the first two pregnant women infected with the Zika virus in the first weeks of the year.

In addition, seven probable cases of infected women are under investigation.

Health officials did not reveal the origin or further details about the gestation period.

In total, 59 patients with Zika were registered in the first four weeks of the year; Cases of Dengue and Chikungunya have dropped substantially compared to the same period in 2016

Last year, the Zika virus, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, infected 150 pregnant women; and two births with microcephaly were reported.

The greatest risk, when Zika is contracted in the early stages of pregnancy, is that the baby is born with a smaller head that normal (microcephaly), a situation that generates difficulties of development in the future.

At the moment, Health official report no people with Guillain-Barré syndrome associated with Zika, nor congenital syndromes have been detected.

According to the latest Health bulletin, 59 Zika patients are confirmed, out of a total 361 suspected cases reported in the first four weeks of the year.

The cantons with the most new reported cases are Matina and Siquirres, in the province of Limon, with 45 and 44 patients respectively. Following are the Puntarenas centre, with 43 and Orotina with 25.

For its part, Dengue is down. The Health bulletin states that up to the end of January, 523 cases of Dengue were confirmed, in the same period last year the number of cases was 3,264.

The number of Chikungunya cases also declined: 66 cases this January, compared to 862 cases in January last year.

The Ministry of Health continues its intense campaign of eliminating mosquito breeding grounds and the spread of the diseases.

So far this year, 62,093 homes have been visited, with almost 30,000 of those fumigated.