Dallas, Texas officials have confirmed at least 10 cases of Zika virus among pregnant women. All the women contracted the virus while travelling abroad.
In related news, the U.S. House has approved $1.1 billion spending to combat the rising threat of Zika virus. The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate, but previously President Obama asked for $1.9 billion.
So far, there have not been any reported local transmission of Zika virus in the U.S., but the number of cases continues to rise, particularly among pregnant women who are travelling abroad and returning home with the infection.
As of June 9, the CDC reported 239 pregnant cases of Zika virus. So far, one woman in New Jersey has given birth to a baby with microcephaly – the birth defect caused by Zika virus.
In Latin America, the number of babies born with microcephaly is rising, and there is fear that this could be driving up abortions in these affected countries.
Study senior author Dr. Catherine Aiken said, “The World Health Organization predicts as many as four million Zika cases across the Americas over the next year, and the virus will inevitably spread to other countries.” Brazil has been hit the heaviest in the Zika outbreak aftermath – and microcephaly births, in particular.
Considering Brazil is scheduled to host the 2016 summer Olympics, there is a growing concern for the safety of the athletes attending. So far, an American golfer has pulled out from attending the Olympic Games as he felt he did not want to face any risk of contracting Zika virus.
Puerto Rico, too, is now seeing alarming Zika virus numbers surge through the country. The CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said, “The real importance of this information is that in coming months it’s possible that thousands of pregnant women in Puerto Rico could become infected with Zika. This could lead to dozens or hundreds of infants being born with microcephaly in the coming year. Controlling this mosquito is very difficult. It takes an entire community working together to protect a pregnant woman.”
Women are still urged to protect themselves as best as possible from mosquitoes and mosquito bites, and should avoid travels to countries that are heavily affected.
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