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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Zika Linked to Six Devastating Pregnancy Outcomes in US

By Gary Evans, AHC Media Senior Staff Writer

Six devastating birth outcomes in the U.S. linked to Zika virus infection were reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has established a Zika Pregnancy Registry and will issue weekly updates on the situation.

In data that reflect outcomes as of June 9, 2016 for all states and the District of Columbia, the CDC reports three liveborn infants with birth defects and three “pregnancy losses" with birth defects. The outcomes are from pregnancies in women with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection reported to the CDC pregnancy registry. To protect the privacy of the women and children affected by Zika, the CDC is not reporting individual state, tribal, territorial or jurisdictional level data.

The poor birth outcomes reported include those that have been detected in infants infected with Zika before or during birth, including microcephaly, calcium deposits in the brain indicating possible brain damage, excess fluid in the brain cavities and surrounding the brain, absent or poorly formed brain structures, abnormal eye development, or other problems resulting from damage to brain that affects nerves, muscles and bones, such as clubfoot or inflexible joints, the CDC notes. The pregnancy losses include miscarriage, stillbirths, and terminations with evidence of the birth defects mentioned above.

“Although these outcomes occurred in pregnancies with laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection, we do not know whether they were caused by Zika virus infection or other factors,” the CDC stated. The data collected through the pregnancy system 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.

The number of pregnant woman diagnosed with the Zika virus is 234 in the United States and 189 in U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, the CDC says. Most of these pregnancies are ongoing, the agency says. For women who are infected with the virus early in their pregnancy, 1-15% will have babies who develop severe birth defects. There have been 756 cases of Zika reported in the United States. In each case, the infected person had traveled to an area where there is an outbreak or had sex with someone who did. The virus is primarily spread by the mosquito Aedes aegypti.

For more information on Zika virus check out AHC Media's on-demand webinar: The Zika Virus: Separating Fact from Fiction – A Discussion with Experts. For all the latest AHC Zika coverage, please visit