A WHO team has said it has identified a new strain of the Zika strain that is spreading rapidly in Colombia, and could make people sick.
A team of experts from WHO, WHO Colombia and the Colombian Ministry of Health and Medical Sciences said on Thursday the new strain, which was first detected in the state of Cabo San Lucas, has spread rapidly.
The strain has been linked to a surge in cases in Colombia’s rural areas, the experts said in a statement.
In Bogota, which is also in the country’s northwest, there were 2,716 new cases of the virus last month, compared with 4,927 new cases in January, the WHO said.
The team identified the new virus strain in a lab and sent it to Colombia’s Public Health Laboratory for further tests.
The Colombian Ministry said the new Zika strain is a strain with the ability to spread quickly through air, water and soil.
It has not yet been tested in human samples.
Colombia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Development said in its statement that it has asked the US Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate with the Colombian government to coordinate surveillance in the affected areas.
The government has not reported any deaths from the new outbreak.