- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - The Latest on the mosquito-born Zika virus, which is suspected of causing brain deformities in babies (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

The United States and Colombia have agreed to team up to accelerate research into the health impacts of Zika virus.

President Barack Obama announced the effort during Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ visit to the White House on Thursday. He says the U.S. and Colombia will conduct joint research to develop testing and vaccines.

The White House says the two countries will share epidemiological information and specimen samples in hopes of better evaluating the potential link between Zika and birth defects. Latin American health officials have been trying to figure out why Zika is linked to birth defects in Brazil but not other countries where it has been detected - including Colombia.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Colombia’s National Institute of Health will work together on the effort.


6:30 p.m.

The U.S. government has temporarily lowered its count of Zika cases because of a new reporting system.

The tally had been based on voluntary phone calls and emails from local health departments, and had grown to 51 people in 14 states and the District of Columbia. All but one - in Texas - were travelers who caught the tropical illness overseas.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just switched to a more formal reporting process. So the official count, reported Thursday, dropped to 11 U.S. cases because paperwork for some reports hasn’t been received yet.

The count is expected to go up again.


5:20 p.m.

Health officials in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico say a man infected with the Zika virus is suffering from a temporary paralysis condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Health Secretary Ana Rius said Thursday that the man is between 30 and 40 years old and developed the paralysis about two weeks after he broke out in a rash. She did not provide any other details.

Puerto Rico also is reporting its first case of a pregnant woman with Zika. Rius said she is between 25 and 35 years old and is in her first trimester.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday declared Zika a global public health emergency after it was linked to brain deformities in babies in South America.

Puerto Rico has 22 confirmed Zika cases.


1:40 p.m.

Spanish officials say a pregnant woman is among the seven people identified as being infected with the Zika virus there after visiting affected countries.

The Health Ministry says in a statement that the woman traveled to Colombia, was presumably infected during the trip and is in her second trimester of pregnancy.

The statement Thursday said she was under medical supervision in the northeastern region of Catalonia.

It said the woman was in good condition but had no details about the condition of her unborn child.

The ministry says the number of cases diagnosed so far are within expectations and do not pose a risk for the virus to be spread in Spain.

International health authorities are trying to determine if the mosquito-borne illness is linked to birth defects in Brazil.


1:20 p.m.

A Brazilian health workers union has called off a strike because it could affect the country’s battle against the fast-spreading Zika virus.

The union’s members include workers who go door-to-door in Rio de Janeiro trying to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits Zika.

Union leader Sandro Cezar said Thursday that the organization decided to cancel the planned stoppage because it doesn’t want to affect the Brazilian people.

The union had threatened to strike if the national health ministry failed to meet demands for better work conditions by Thursday.

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