Nine Pregnant Women Diagnosed With Zika In U.S.

| by Jordan Smith

The Centers for Disease Control released a report confirming nine cases of pregnant women in the U.S. diagnosed with the Zika virus, which has spread widely in Latin America.

All nine women caught the virus while traveling abroad, according to The Associated Press.

Of the nine, three have given birth. One of the babies was born with microcephaly, a rare condition where the brain does not develop fully and the child’s head is smaller than normal. There is no conclusive proof that Zika and microcephaly are linked, but significant evidence to support this view exists.

Two of the remaining pregnant women had miscarriages, but no connection to Zika was proven. Two more were continuing with the pregnancy, reportedly without complications, while two others had abortions.

The CDC has a Zika travel alert now covering 30 countries. These include the nine destinations where the women traveled to: American Samoa, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Samoa.

For most people who are not pregnant when they contract Zika, it results only in rashes and a short period of discomfort.

Concern is growing over the impact Zika could have on this summer’s Olympics scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Fatima Teresa Goncalves dos Santos, a Rio resident and businesswoman, told USA Today she caught Zika close to where the Olympic park will house thousands of athletes.

“I was meeting a client when I was bitten,” dos Santos told USA Today. “It was in Barra da Tijuca, which is very close to where some of the Olympic stadiums are.”

But Mario Andrada, spokesman for the Olympic Organizing Committee, remains confident.

“[Zika] will not affect our games,” he said.

No national committee has announced plans to boycott the games.

The CDC advises travelers to Zika-affected regions to use insect repellant and to continue doing so for three weeks after returning home, in case the infection has not yet made them sick, The Guardian reports.

Sources: The Associated Press via The Guardian, USA Today/ Photo credit: Tomás Munita/National Geographic

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