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CDC says 6 percent of pregnant women infected with Zika had babies with birth defects

AP

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 6 percent of pregnant women infected with the Zika virus went on to have children with one or more birth defect, according to a new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The report combined data collected by the CDC and state and local health departments.

A pregnant woman who works in Wynwood speaks with reporters about the moment she was diagnosed with Zika.

Of the 442 U.S. women with possible Zika virus infection, 26 reportedly had children with birth defects possibly related to the Zika infection. These women were exposed to the virus while pregnant in Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Republic of Marshall Islands and Venezuela.

“This is an important study. It shows that the rate of microcephaly and other fetal malformations related to Zika is similar among babies born in the United States – whose mothers were infected during travel to a dozen countries with active Zika transmission – to the estimated rate in Brazil,” said a statement from CDC Director Tom Frieden. “Zika poses a real risk throughout pregnancy, but especially in the first trimester; it’s critical that pregnant women not travel to areas where Zika is spreading.”

When the Zika virus emerged as a global threat, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research drew on its deep expertise in protecting Soldiers against malaria, Ebola and other flaviviruses, to develop the ZPIV vaccine in just six months. Watch to le

Of women who were infected in their first trimester, 11 percent had fetuses or infants with birth defects. That rate was consistent with previous estimates.

Eighteen infants were diagnosed with microcephaly, representing 4 percent of the 442 completed pregnancies. That rate is substantially higher than the national rate of 7 per 10,000 live births, roughly .007 percent.

The CDC urges pregnant women to avoid areas with Zika. For more information about the Zika virus and pregnancy, visit the CDC website.

Of the 442 U.S. women with possible Zika virus infection, 26 reportedly had children with birth defects possibly related to the Zika infection. These women were exposed to the virus while pregnant in Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Republic of Marshall Islands and Venezuela.

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