News / Health

    Zika Infects 9 Pregnant US Travelers to Latin America

    FILE - A technician inspects the pupae of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, a vector for transmitting the Zika virus, in Campinas, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016.
    FILE - A technician inspects the pupae of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, a vector for transmitting the Zika virus, in Campinas, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016.
    Carol Pearson

    Nine pregnant women who traveled from the U.S. to countries with Zika outbreaks contracted the virus and that one of them had a baby born with severe microcephaly, an abnormally small head that often is related to a host of developmental delays, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

    Of the other eight women, two had miscarriages, two aborted their fetuses after MRIs and ultrasounds showed evidence of brain malformation, two had healthy babies, and two other women are still pregnant with apparently healthy babies.

    "We did not expect to see these brain abnormalities in this small case series of U.S. pregnant travelers," said Dr. Denise Jamieson, who's helping lead the CDC's Zika response. Her comment came during a telebriefing on Zika held Friday by the CDC.

    The CDC is following 10 other pregnant women.

    Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the CDC, said that while a direct connection between Zika and microcephaly is not yet proven, "the evidence is getting stronger and stronger" that there is one. If so, this would be the first time a mosquito-borne virus would be responsible for causing birth defects.

    Frieden emphasized that proving a Zika-microcephaly connection is complicated, as there may be other factors involved, as well.

    FILE - A blood samples from pregnant women are analyzed for the presence of the Zika virus, at Guatemalan Social Security maternity hospital in Guatemala City, Feb. 2, 2016.
    FILE - A blood samples from pregnant women are analyzed for the presence of the Zika virus, at Guatemalan Social Security maternity hospital in Guatemala City, Feb. 2, 2016.

    Doctors believe microcephaly occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy when babies' brains develop. It is not known if Zika causes miscarriages, but Frieden noted that up to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage under normal circumstances.

    Sexual transmission

    While mosquitoes are the primary vector for Zika infection, the CDC has confirmed six cases of sexual transmission of the virus from men to their female partners. It also is investigating 14 reports of the Zika virus that may have been transmitted through sex, including to pregnant women.

    Frieden said the agency did not anticipate so many cases of sexual transmission. Doctors don't know how long Zika remains in the semen, and Frieden said the report underscores the importance of proper condom use.

    Frieden added that the CDC has developed a test for Zika and is sending it to public health laboratories in the U.S. and its territories, including Puerto Rico, where the virus is spreading.

    One of the unknowns is whether an apparently healthy baby, born to a woman who had the virus during pregnancy, will remain healthy or if the virus will cause problems in years to come.

    Doctors also addressed the issue of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a form of paralysis linked to the virus that can be deadly. Guillain-Barré is also associated with other viruses such as West Nile. Frieden said it is "almost certainly related" to Zika.

    The CDC is working with the Health Ministries of Colombia and Brazil to learn more about the complications of Zika. Data on Guillain-Barré has been collected in Brazil, and research on the link with microcephaly is ongoing in both countries. The studies are expected to be completed by April.

    You May Like

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora