The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated the way it reports pregnancies in carriers of Zika. The new results from this method have found that over 279 pregnant women are positive carriers for the Zika virus. At this point, however, only a handful of women have suffered from miscarriages or confirmed birth defects, but that doesn’t mean the statistics aren’t alarming.

The CDC’s report is somewhat confusing, as although it reports 279 pregnant women, this figure also includes women who have already given birth. The women who have already had their babies or suffered miscarriages are those who have reported adverse effects, while those still pregnant have not yet been included in these statistics. The number of adverse effects is likely to rise as more Zika-infected women give birth.

Numbers previously stated only contained women who had self-reported symptoms. The CDC said in a statement:

“These new numbers reflect a broader group of pregnant women — pregnant women who have any laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection, and whether or not they recalled symptoms — compared with numbers previously reported.”

In total, 544 people are infected with the Zika virus in the United States. So far, no one has been infected via mosquito bites in the United States, but instead because of previous travel to an area where the virus is rampant. Zika can also be spread through sexual contact, so some have acquired the disease through sexual partners who have traveled to areas where Zika virus is abundant. So far, the CDC has confirmed 10 cases of Zika that have been sexually transmitted. [1]

The CDC urges, and has for several months, for any woman who is pregnant and has traveled to a Zika-affected area or has a partner who has traveled to those areas, to get tested to ensure that they are not carriers of the virus. Previously, women have been advised to use precaution and avoid getting pregnant if they are traveling to an area where Zika is present. Women who plan to become pregnant in the next few years are also advised to avoid countries rife with Zika.

Sources:

[1] USA Today

NBC News


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Post written byAnna Scanlon:

Anna Scanlon is an author of YA and historical fiction and a PhD student at the University of Leicester where she is finishing her degree in modern history.