There are currently 279 pregnant women in the United States and the U.S. territories who carry the Zika virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement last week.
The statistics are based on the pregnancy registries of the U.S. and Puerto Rico, which include all women who received laboratory confirmation of their diagnosis, regardless if they actually showed symptoms of Zika or not. 157 of the 279 women live in the U.S., while the others live in U.S. territories.
So, what’s so different about this announcement? Previously, the CDC only reported cases of Zika when the women involved experienced symptoms. However, the fact that pregnant women who don’t exhibit symptoms can still give birth to babies with microcephaly has caused the reporting to change:
“The data collected through these registries will be used to update recommendations for clinical care, to plan for services and support for pregnant women and families affected by Zika virus, and to improve prevention of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.”
These statistics also include women who are currently pregnant and women “who were infected during pregnancy and have given birth, terminated their pregnancy or miscarried,” according to Time. While the majority of the women said they were infected while traveling, some said they were infected via sexual transmission.
While we don’t want to raise any alarms or cause any undue anxiety, I do believe it is important to be updated on health issues–especially in a case where you may be traveling or exposed to the virus in some other way.