Yesterday Thailand said authorities are investigating four microcephaly cases, while the Philippines and Singapore today reported more cases of Zika virus. Florida, meanwhile, is seeing more locally acquired cases, as well.
Zika-linked microcephaly in 3 infants, 1 fetus
The Bangkok Post reported that Thailand's Department of Disease Control is investigating three babies born with smaller-than-average heads. Another woman, who is 36 weeks pregnant, has a fetus with an abnormally small head detected on ultrasound. She is 1 of 33 pregnant women in the country's "Zika watch areas" under surveillance for any birth defects linked to the mosquito-borne disease.
Amnuay Gajeena, MD, director-general of Thailand's Department of Disease Control, said Zika is not endemic in the country, and that three to four cases of microcephaly are consistent with the 1% to 30% incidence of Zika-related microcephaly seen in other countries.
Elsewhere, the Philippines now has 12 confirmed cases of Zika virus, after 3 new cases were identified by the Department of Health (DOH) over the weekend. Eight of the 12 are ininvolve women, and 1 of the cases involves a 22-year-old from Cebu who is 19 weeks pregnant.
And Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) announced today there were 393 cases of Zika in the city-state. The pace of transmission is slowing down after hundreds of cases were reported at the beginning of the month; only 13 cases have been detected since Sep 18.
More locally transmitted cases in Florida
On the other side of the world, Florida Health, Florida's health department, announced 10 more cases of locally transmitted Zika virus today. Three of the cases date back to July, when active transmission was occurring in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami and do not represent new areas of transmission.
The other seven cases are in Palm Beach (1), Miami Beach (1), and Miami-Dade County (5). Florida Health said officials are still investigating where the disease was transmitted in Miami-Dade County, and the department is continuing door-to-door outreach in that county, as well as in Pinellas and Palm Beach counties.
There are now 105 non-travel–related Zika cases in Florida and 689 travel-related cases. Pregnant women in the state and travelers are still advised to avoid unnecessary travel to the Miami Beach area, where Zika virus is still being actively transmitted.
Sanofi gets $43 million for vaccine development
Finally today, Reuters reports that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $43 million in Zika vaccine development funds to Sanofi Pasteur, the French drug maker that also manufactures the yellow fever and dengue vaccine. The money is meant to speed the vaccine development process, which could see mid-level trials as soon as 2018.
According to Reuters, the contract runs through June 2022, but if the data are positive, it can be extended for up to an additional $130.45 million for late-stage trials.
The money comes from HHS's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
Sep 25 Bangkok Post story
Sep 26 Philippines DOH update
Sep 26 Singapore NEA update
Sep 26 Florida Health update
Sep 26 Reuters story