Ten pregnant women in the Dallas area are suspected to have Zika. None of them have developed it from a mosquito bite while in Texas, but all have travelled to Zika-infected countries within the past several months.
Health officials, however, will not make any official diagnosis until after the babies are born. Zika is the first known virus transmitted by mosquito bites that causes severe birth defects. Children of women who were pregnant at the time of infection are often born with microcephaly, a disorder that halts the progression of the development of the brain.
In addition to the child having a smaller head than other children at birth, microcephaly causes severe developmental delays. Because of this, pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant in the near future are advised not to travel to destinations where Zika is known to inhabit.
Dr. Sonja Rasmussen of the Centers for Disease Control stated:
“What we’re learning is that they have a severe form of microcephaly that is oftentimes associated with other problems in the brain that can be seen on imaging or CT scan or MRI’s, that makes us really concerned.”
As of early June, 234 pregnant women have tested positive as evidence for the virus in the United States. 756 people altogether in the United States have been reported to have contracted the Zika virus.
The virus can not only be spread through mosquito bites, but also through sexual contact with an infected individual, officials report. Because of this, it is recommended that you use a condom when performing any sex acts for several weeks after travelling to an area where Zika is known to be.
Although Zika is typically not life threatening, in addition to birth defects, it can also cause Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which is characterized as extreme muscle weakness and a lack of coordination. In severe cases, Guillain-Barre can lead to death.