3,000 pregnant women in Colombia recover from Zika only to be left in terrible dilemma

3,000 pregnant women in Colombia recover from Zika only to be left in terrible d

With six weeks pregnancy, Margarita Rosa Barrios started feeling the symptoms, of which every expecting mother is afraid these days- three days of fever, swollen eyes, aching joints. She got diagnosed with the Zika virus recently.

24-year-old Barrios is well aware that thousands of babies have been reported taking birth with abnormally tiny heads during the Zika epidemic in Brazil, where researchers have said that the virus is the culprit. And Barrios isn’t expecting a single child as she is going to deliver twins.

In Columbia, roughly 3,000 pregnant women facing agonizing position like that of Barrios, having recovered from the virus just to be dropped into a terrible dilemma. Unlike in Brazil, in Colombia, some pregnant mothers have been given the choice to end their pregnancies, as per laws allowing abortions in some cases.

In the Americas, Colombia has come up as the second front in the fight against Zika. More than 25,000 Colombians have contracted the virus, a number, which as per the officials may surge to 600,000.

However, unlike in Brazil, where there have been an estimated 1.5 million infections since 2014, the first case of Zika was detected in Colombia only in October. Most expectant women who have got diagnosed with the virus in the nation haven’t given birth. And, so far no cases have been confirmed of infants born with abnormally tiny heads, a problem known as microcephaly.

The situation has place women here in the tough position of considering, and in some cases, choosing abortions even before the country has reported any microcephaly cases.

Fernando Ruiz Gómez, Colombia’s deputy health minister, said, “There’s a lot we don’t know about this disease. What we know is there’s a growing disparity between what we’re seeing in Colombia with Zika and the experience in Brazil”.

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