Zika confirmed in 9 pregnant women in US


By Mike Stobbe, AP

NEW YORK–Zika infections have been confirmed in nine pregnant women in the United States, including one who gave birth to a baby with a rare birth defect, U.S. health officials said Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it’s investigating 10 more reports of pregnant travelers with Zika. All got the virus while visiting or living in places with Zika outbreaks.

Also on Friday, the CDC issued a caution to people planning to attend the Olympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. cases add to reports out of Brazil. Officials there are exploring a possible link to babies born with unusually small heads, a rare birth defect called microcephaly, which can signal underlying brain damage.

Zika has become epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean since last fall. The virus, mainly spread through mosquito bites, causes mild illness or no symptoms in most people.

Since August, the CDC has tested 257 pregnant women for Zika; eight were positive, and a state lab confirmed a ninth.

— Three of the women have delivered babies; two of the newborns are apparently healthy, and one was born with microcephaly.

— Two had miscarriages, but it’s unknown if the Zika infection was the cause.

— Two women had abortions, one after scans showed the fetus had an undeveloped brain. Details were not provided for the second case.

— Two pregnancies are continuing with no reported complications.

Five of the women had Zika symptoms in the first trimester, including the miscarriages, abortions and newborn with microcephaly.