An official of the of Health Ministry delivers brochures with information about the Zika virus to pregnant women, on Feb. 10, 2016, in Cali, Colombia.
Luis Robayo—AFP/Getty Images
March 4, 2016 9:24 AM EST

Researchers have found the first cases of birth defects linked to the Zika virus in Colombia, which may signal the start of a wave of birth defects in the country.

According to Nature, researchers have diagnosed one newborn with microcephaly and two others with congenital brain abnormalities. All three tested positive for the presence of the Zika virus.

Colombia has seen the second-highest amount of confirmed Zika cases after Brazil, which has seen a marked uptick in birth defects in areas where the mosquito-borne disease is prevalent. Until now, the smaller South American country had not observed a similar increase.

Colombian researchers hope to monitor pregnant women and better establish the extent of the threat posed on fetuses by the virus, an important question that scientists have not been able to answer with Brazilian data.



Contact us at

Read More From TIME

Related Stories