Cases of pregnant U.S. women with Zika tripleStaff writer ▼ | May 25, 2016
The number of pregnant women in the United States infected with the Zika virus has just tripled because cases are now being counted in a more comprehensive way, federal health officials said.
Virus New counting method
So far, a total of 279 infected women are being followed in the United States and its territories, according to two registries that have been created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Previously, only cases of pregnant women who had Zika-related symptoms or pregnancy complications were being tallied, CDC officials said. But recently published reports have found that some pregnant women show no symptoms of Zika infection, yet still give birth to babies with a severe brain defect known as microcephaly.
"These updated numbers reflect all pregnant women in the United States and territories with any laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection, regardless of whether they had symptoms," Dr. Margaret Honein, chief of the birth defects branch at the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said during a Friday morning media briefing.
Using the new registries will provide a more complete picture of the effects of Zika on pregnant women in the United States, Honein added.
As of May 12, the two U.S. registries were monitoring 157 pregnant women in the United States and 122 pregnant women in U.S. territories who have laboratory evidence of possible Zika infection, CDC officials said. Before that, only 48 cases had been reported in the United States, while 65 cases had been reported in the U.S. territories, which include Puerto Rico.
Most of the women are still pregnant, and less than a dozen have had either a miscarriage or an infant with a birth defect, Honein said. ■