According to a Reuters report, at least 72 babies with microcephaly were born between February 2017 and May 2018 in Angola, Africa.
These Zika virus cases have remained largely unknown, but an internal World Health Organization (WHO) The report reviewed by Reuters provided "strong evidence" for a Zika-linked microcephalus cluster in Angola.
In an e-mail reply to questions from Reuters, Angola's health ministry said it has reported 41 cases of Zika and 56 cases of microcephaly since January 2017.
Reuters said, "It was not immediately clear why the numbers differed from the WHO internal report."
Angola is on the southwest coast of Africa.
The lack of data and diagnostic tests along with a regrettably inadequate Angolan health care system has made the persecution of the Zika outbreak more difficult.
According to the Ministry of Health, only one laboratory in Angola is currently testing Zika.
Microcephaly is a condition in which a baby's head is much smaller than expected, says the WHO.
However, new evidence from a research team in Portugal suggests that it is the first on the African continent to be affected by the Asian disease, said Reuters.
It was the Asian Zika strain that has caused at least 3,762 cases of Zika-related birth defects including microcephaly in Brazil since 201
Doctors and researchers now fear that this Zika tribe of Angola could spread to other countries the African continent.
"Probably not all cases of microcephaly can be attributed to Zika," said the ministry, listing a number of other possible causes, such as syphilis and rubella.
This Angolan outbreak comes at a time when the world's attention has been drawn to Zika, Reuters said.
"We can not focus our attention on this," Dr. Eve Lackritz, a doctor who leads the Zika WHO working group.
"We have to be vigilant and have a sustainable response."
The Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 in the tropical rain forest of Uganda. Over time, the virus diverged into two genetically distinct lineages – the African and Asian lineages – and both were not originally associated with major epidemics.
Recent Zika Virus News:
Previously, on August 10, 2018, the CDC released a report that showed that about 14 percent of infected infants affected with the Zika virus in utero have 1 or more health problems at the age of 1 year.
The rate of brain or ocular abnormalities in this report was 30-fold higher than the baseline of infants and children without Zika.
These CDC researchers analyzed data from the US Zika Pregnancy and Infant Register of 1,450 children in US territories who were at least 1 year old and whose mother confirmed or was able to diagnose Zika virus infection during pregnancy.
This finding highlights the need for ongoing surveillance, especially as some birth abnormalities were not obvious.
"The Zika story is not over, especially for the children and families who were directly affected," said Peggy Honein, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC Department of Congenital and Developmental Disorders.
On October 3, 2018, 46 Zika cases were reported from 13 states and 98 cases in US territories.
The state of California reported 16 Zika virus cases in 2018.
Most of these travel-related Zika cases were identified in people who returned to the US from Mexico or Central America, according to the CDC.
In addition, on October 11, 2018, the CDC updated its Warning Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions, for various countries.
These CDC Travel Newsletters include countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the Pacific Islands, and South America.
All travelers in these Zika hot-zones should follow strict steps to prevent mosquito bites during and after the trip.
Because acquiring a Zika virus infection during pregnancy can lead to birth defects, pregnant women should not travel to Zika hot zones, the CDC says.