Zika Fear Not Materializing
A study found that only 0.2% of US pregnant women screened in Texas contracted the Zika virus while traveling to high-risk areas.
The vast majority of these pregnant women (97%) had traveled to countries in Central America.
These researchers said that none of the 391 babies they analyzed from travel-affected pregnancies showed any signs of Zika infection, or microcephaly.
Babies born to women who contract Zika while pregnant can develop microcephaly, a congenital deformation which leads to small head circumference, and developmental problems.
Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes. This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
The best protection from the Zika virus is preventing mosquito bites.
Neonatal head circumference percentiles among infants born to women with evidence of possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy were not reduced when compared to infants born to women without infection.
Approximately one year ago today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus an international public health emergency.
The WHO no longer classifies Zika as a health crisis. But despite this administrative determination, the number of global Zika infections continues to increase.
According to the WHO, the Zika virus, has similar symptoms to dengue fever and is not typically regarded as life-threatening. There is no known treatment for Zika, but scientists are conducting clinical trials on various vaccines and preventive treatments.
Researcher financial Disclosures: There are no financial disclosures to report. Internal / departmental funding was used for this study: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, Dallas County Health and Human Services
The authors report no conflict of interest: Emily H. Adhikari, MD, David B. Nelson, MD, Kathryn A. Johnson, MD, Sara Jacobs, MD, Vanessa L. Rogers, MD, Scott Roberts, MD, Taylor Sexton, MPH,, Donald D. McIntire, PhD, Brian Casey, MD.