Brazil reports increase in microcephaly cases linked to Zika

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Brazil reports increase in microcephaly cases linked to Zika
Nadja Bezerra, center, and her mother Josefa listen to a neurologist while finishing an early stimulation program for 4-month-old Alice Bezerra, who was born with microcephaly, at the Fundacao Altino Ventura child rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Infants suffering from microcephaly rest together as relatives gather nearby at the Altino Ventura Foundation in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Josefa Bezerra carries her 4-month-old granddaughter Alice, who was born with microcephaly, to an appointment at the Fundacao Altino Ventura child rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A neurologist measures a baby suffering from microcephaly during a medical check at the Altino Ventura Foundation in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A couple arrives for early stimulation classes at the Altino Ventura Foundation in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Relatives of patients suffering from microcephaly gather at the Altino Ventura Foundation in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Relatives of patients suffering from microcephaly listen to therapists while gathering at the Altino Ventura Foundation in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Nadja Bezerra holds her 4-month-old daughter Alice, who was born with microcephaly, before an appointment with an ophthalmologist at the Fundacao Altino Ventura child rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Relatives of patients suffering from microcephaly sing along with a sound therapist while gathering at the Altino Ventura Foundation in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A physical therapist shows the relatives of 4-month-old Alice Bezerra, who was born with microcephaly, how to stretch her legs at the Fundacao Altino Ventura child rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Josefa Bezerra, unseen, takes the pajamas off her 4-month-old granddaughter Alice, who was born with microcephaly, while preparing to take her in for medical checks in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Nadja Bezerra carries an umbrella while carrying her 4-month-old daughter Alice Bezerra, who was born with microcephaly, to the Fundacao Altino Ventura child rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Relatives of patients suffering from microcephaly gather at the Altino Ventura Foundation in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Nadja Bezerra, right, and her mother Josefa holds 4-month-old Alice, who was born with microcephaly, while speaking with other bus passengers on the way to the Fundacao Altino Ventura child rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Nadja Bezerra carries her 4-month-old daughter Alice Bezerra, who was born with microcephaly, to a bus in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A bus drives past houses in the low income neighborhood of Jordao Alto where Nadja Bezerra and her mother Josefa live with 4-month-old Alice Bezerra, who was born with microcephaly, in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Nadja Bezerra carries her 4-month-old daughter Alice, who was born with microcephaly, for nearly 2 kilometers to the nearest bus station in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The mosquito-borne virus Zika, which has been spreading throughout the Americas, has caused alarm and been declared a global health emergency, in large part because of a link to a serious birth defect that leads to abnormally small heads and possible incomplete brain development. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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BRASILIA (Reuters) - The number of confirmed and suspected cases of microcephaly in Brazil associated with the Zika virus has risen to 4,690 from 4,443 a week earlier, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.

Of these, the number of confirmed cases climbed to 583 from 508 a week earlier, while suspected ones increased to 4,107 from 3,935 in the same period.

Brazil considered most of the cases of babies born with abnormally small heads to be related to Zika, though the link between the virus and the birth defects has not been scientifically established.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Lisa Shumaker)

Zika Virus and Microcephaly
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