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Number Of Pregnant American Women With Zika Spikes

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the number of pregnant women in the U.S. with the Zika virus has spiked.

About 157 women in the country have been diagnosed with Zika and another 122 pregnant women have the disease in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico, the CDC told reporters, according to The Associated Press. This was the first time the CDC disclosed the number of people affected by the virus in the U.S.

These new numbers reflect a broader group of pregnant women -- pregnant women who have tested positive for possible Zika virus infection, whether or not they had symptoms, reports AP.

The Zika virus can cause microcephaly and brain abnormalities. It is the first known mosquito-borne infection to cause congenital anomalies in humans, according to CNN.

So far, nearly all Zika cases in the continental U.S. have been found in people who were returning from countries where Zika is more widespread, such as Brazil, or through sexual transmission by travelers.

The Obama administration has requested $1.9 billion in emergency Zika funding and the U.S. Senate has approved $1.1 billion of that request, reports AP.

While U.S. officials seek ways to control or eradicate Zika, Brazil, the country with the most reported cases of Zika, is getting ready to host the 2016 Olympic Games, which has caused some to worry the virus could spread due to the large influx of international travelers visiting the South American nation.

Amir Attaran, a professor of law and medicine at Canada's University of Ottawa, argued in the medical journal, Harvard Public Health Review, that the games “must not proceed,” according to Bloomberg.

“It cannot possibly help to send a half-million travelers into Rio from places that would not normally have strong travel connections with Rio and therefore set up new dissemination channels,” Attaran said.

Sources: AP via Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg / Photo credit: Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC via Wikimedia Commons

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