Also Friday, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed nine cases of Zika virus among pregnant women in the USA, and say they are investigating 10 more suspected cases.
– Today the CDC released information about nine pregnant travelers, now in the USA, with confirmed cases of Zika virus.
NEW YORK (AP) – The government says Zika infections have been confirmed in nine pregnant women in the United States.
The virus has been linked to a serious birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.
Of the six best-investigated cases of sexual transmission, CDC officials said all were transmitted by vaginal intercourse from an infected man who either had Zika symptoms, such as rash and fever, or had symptoms within two weeks. But the potential in Puerto Rico for those statistics to worsen is staggering: the CDC reports that there remains the chance for hundreds of thousands of Zika cases – and, therefore, countless affected pregnancies – in Puerto Rico alone.
Men who live in or travel to areas where Zika is spreading are advised to abstain from sex or use condoms consistently and properly.
Late on Friday, the Federal Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization for a new CDC laboratory test for the Zika virus that detects antibodies the body makes to fight infection. Approximately one in five people infected with the virus show symptoms.
Officials are rushing to figure out if Zika is the cause of the irreversible damage, known as microcephaly. “And so what we’re doing at this time… we do not have those mosquitoes in Montana that can actually transmit the virus”, explained Cindy Hotchkiss with the Missoula City County Health Department. And the risk of contracting the virus is already causing some US athletes to question whether they will attend, most prominently, USA women’s soccer goalie Hope Solo.
As for the sexual transmission of the virus, in the cases studied by the CDC, the infected man had sex while he had symptoms of a Zika infection, or shortly thereafter. The women who experienced miscarriages or who chose terminations also noticed Zika symptoms in their first trimesters. That could prompt women to have an abortion based on a positive Zika test, even if there are no signs of microcephaly found during ultrasound tests.
Montana is one of 25 states reporting a travel-associated case of Zika.