Six Travel-Related Cases of Birth Defects Caused by Zika Virus Diagnosed in US
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
Federal health officials announced Thursday that six babies in the United States have been diagnosed with birth defects linked to the Zika virus.
Three babies were born with the birth defects, and three were lost to miscarriages or aborted because of the defects. All of the mothers had been infected by the Zika virus during travel.
According to NBCNews.com, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said that the organization is preparing for small outbreaks of the Zika virus due to the start of mosquito season. Puerto Rico has reported at least one birth defect caused by the virus as well.
In total, the CDC announced that 234 pregnant women in the United States—including residents and visitors—have been diagnosed with Zika, while another 189 cases have been reported in U.S. territories.
“The poor birth outcomes reported include those that have been detected in infants infected with Zika before or during birth, including microcephaly, calcium deposits in the brain indicating possible brain damage, excess fluid in the brain cavities and surrounding the brain, absent or poorly formed brain structures, abnormal eye development, or other problems resulting from damage to brain that affects nerves, muscles and bones, such as clubfoot or inflexible joints,” CDC officials said in a statement. “These numbers are not real time estimates. They will reflect the outcomes of pregnancies reported with any laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection as of 12 noon every Thursday the week prior; numbers will be delayed one week.”
Officials from both the CDC and the World Health Organization now believe the Zika virus causes birth defects and other infections in newborns, including Guillain-Barre syndrome.
While the CDC did not report any details about the infected patients, NBCNews.com is reporting that two of the cases have been previously reported, including a Honduran woman who gave birth in New Jersey in May and a Hawaiian woman who gave birth to a child with microcephaly.
To help pregnant women avoid the Zika virus, the CDC warns that they should not visit areas with reported cases. In addition, people should be wearing long clothing, spraying mosquito repellent, staying indoors when possible and avoiding sexual contact with anyone who could be infected, as the virus is transmittable sexually.
For more Impacting Travel News
More by Donald Wood
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions