Zika Virus More Likely To Hurt Babies Than We Thought — CDC

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Overall, 45 babies in the United States were born with Zika-related birth defects past year, the CDC reported, and there were six "pregnancy losses" due to such defects.

Nationally, 1,617 pregnant women in the United States and the District of Columbia have reported infection. However, when the researchers only looked at laboratory-confirmed Zika virus cases, excluding "suspected cases", the number rose to 10 percent, according to Gizmodo. CTV News Canada points out that the Zika virus can cause microcephaly in babies, an irreversible condition where the child's brain and skull are unusually small and misshapen. Doctors should also screen all pregnant women for exposure to the Zika virus.

Pregnant women or women who could become pregnant should stay away from any place where Zika is spreading, the CDC and World Health Organization says.

"This illustrates the fact that, despite Zika awareness being high, there is still much clinical education that needs to occur for the U.S.to be able to effectively manage an outbreak", Adalja said. The CDC's analysis includes information on 972 Zika-related pregnancies that were completed between January and December 2016. "CDC continues to work closely with health departments on the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry to follow up infants with possible congenital Zika virus infection and better understand the full range of disabilities that can result from this infection". She said the CDC is still receiving about 30 to 40 reports of pregnant women infected with Zika virus each week.

Last year, nearly 1,300 pregnancies with possible Zika infection were reported in 44 different states.

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New evidence about the Zika virus and the potential link to defects in unborn babies came out this week. Imaging could help detect brain abnormalities not visible at birth, and the CDC now recommends neuroimaging for any infant whose mother has Zika.

"Prevention is key", Honein said.

Preparing Zika Prevention Kits for newborns in Puerto Rico (including mosquito netting, onesies and prevention tips).

The threat of the mosquito-borne Zika virus reaching the US past year thankfully never approached our worst fears, with only a few locally spread cases seen in Texas and Florida.

This upcoming May will mark the two-year anniversary of the first reported cases of Zika recorded within South America. However, the proportion was higher when restricted to pregnancies with laboratory-confirmed Zika. Most of these women acquired Zika infection during travel to an area where Zika was known to be present.

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Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious damage to the brain and microcephaly in developing fetuses. Affected babies may be born with brain abnormalities, vision problems, hearing loss and problems moving limbs.

Zika has been almost dormant in Miami-Dade so far in 2017, with two locally acquired cases confirmed and no zones of active transmission identified.

The new estimates prove that Zika is not confined to the borders of Brazil and has substantially spread to the United States. "Unfortunately, there has not been good follow-up of these patients", she said.

The team also analysed 250 women with definitive test results for Zika.

The CDC had tested 2,107 specimens sent by Florida as of March 15, according to the agency.

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While there is no treatment for Zika, health officials recommend affected pregnant women receive additional monitoring so any birth defects can be found early.

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