Twelvefold increase in Zika cases since Ecuador earthquake

UNICEF and partners are supporting the national government by raising awareness and providing necessary supplies

NEW YORK/PANAMA/QUITO/TORONTO, July 19, 2016 /CNW/ - Three months after the Ecuador earthquake, the number of Zika Virus cases increased from 92 to 1,106 country-wide, with the sharpest increase in the quake-hit areas.

According to national data, 80 per cent of the Zika cases are in the province of Manabí where the April 16 earthquake left most damage. After the earthquake, the proliferation of stagnant waters, and concentration of displaced persons increased the risk of vector transmission.  

Women between 15 and 49 years of age are the worst affected by the virus, accounting for 509 cases in Manabí.

While there have been no Zika-related microcephaly cases in newborns so far, 73 confirmed cases of pregnant women with Zika Virus have been reported.

"We need to urgently scale up the Zika preventative interventions to reduce its transmission and impact on children and their families", said Grant Leaity, UNICEF Representative in Ecuador.

UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Public Health on an awareness campaign, and is also working along with the Ministry of Education in order to produce educational material based on Zika Virus prevention for teachers and students. In addition, impregnated mosquito nets, personal hygiene kits and water tank cleaning supplies will be provided for pregnant women as well as families in the most vulnerable areas. 

Throughout the earthquake affected zones, UNICEF has also supported the emergency with the provision of temporary educational spaces for approximately 12,000 children and 590 "School in a Box" kits have been given for teachers and an additional 23,600 students. Along with humanitarian partners, about 250,000 people have been benefitted through the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene encouragement. 350,000 Zinc tablets have also been provided for 12,500 children under 5 years of age, micronutrients for more than 80,000 and over 250,000 Vitamin A doses, in order to prevent malnutrition and associated health issues. Over 20,000 children have received psychosocial attention through the ¨Return to Happiness¨ methodology.

Download photos and interviews with Zika affected mothers:


UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit


Image with caption: "More than 50 families reside in the informal refuge built in La Chorerra community, where no public services are provided and children are at increased risk of diseases such as Zika virus. ©UNICEF/UN025173/Troppoli (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)". Image available at:

For further information: To arrange interviews or for more information please contact: Stefanie Carmichael, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8866; 647-500-4230 (mobile),


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