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

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora