Before the Zika virus ravaged Central America, South America and the Caribbean Islands, medical researchers and practicing doctors did not know a whole lot about microcephaly. However, now that a couple of years have passed since Zika infected so many pregnant women, researchers are beginning to learn more about microcephaly. It is looking like the amount of microcephaly-afflicted children born to Zika infected mothers have increased dramatically.
Scientists have claimed that the Zika virus caused a twenty fold increase in the amount of birth defects occurring within the United States. This increase is allowing medical researchers better access to large sample sizes of microcephalic children. Before the Zika virus ravaged our southern neighbors, researchers estimated that three out of every one thousand births in the US resulted in infants being born with microcephaly. Now that the worst of Zika is hopefully over, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now estimating that a whopping sixty out of every one thousand births in the United States end up with infants developing birth defects. When taking into account the increase in birth defects, Zika was reported to have increased thirty three percent in prevalence since the previous Zika-free year.
Luckily, every single one of the reported cases of Zika infection involved the victim contracting the virus while overseas, and not while on American soil. According the CDC’s website, 1,534 women within the continental U.S. were known to be infected with the virus while pregnant. However, the number may be much higher as these women had laboratory confirmed infections. Many women within the United States may have been infected, but were not determined to be by the CDC. Although the news on Zika currently looks good, experts are continually warning politicians to step up the funding for research into mosquito control methods.
Did you know anybody personally who had contracted Zika?