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Microcephaly Risk Highest With Zika Virus Infection During First or Early Second Trimester of Pregnancy

The authors also developed a modifiable spreadsheet tool that public health officials and researchers in areas with local Zika virus transmission can use to plan for births in women who were infected with Zika virus at different stages of pregnancy.
“Conducting surveillance, [not only] for microcephaly, but also other pregnancy outcomes, such as pregnancy loss and other birth defects, will enable continued evaluation of any effects” that Zika virus disease might have on pregnancy, the authors conclude.
Zika virus has now also been reported in the US, in travelers returning from areas where the disease is spreading. Consequently, the CDC recommends testing of potentially exposed individuals with signs or symptoms consistent with Zika virus disease.
In another recent CDC report, Sharoda Dasgupta, PhD, and colleagues shared data from Zika virus testing that was performed from January 3 to March 5, 2016, for 4,534 individuals from the US states and District of Columbia (DC)—3,335 (73.6%) of whom were pregnant women.
“Among persons from US states and DC receiving testing for Zika virus, few persons had confirmed Zika virus infection. Approximately 99% of asymptomatic pregnant women who received testing did not have Zika virus infection,” Dr Dasgupta and colleagues write.
Among 1,541 individuals who reported one or more Zika-virus associated symptoms, 182 (11.8%) had confirmed Zika virus infection.
However, among 2,425 asymptomatic pregnant women, only seven (0.3%) had confirmed Zika virus infection.
However, because of the risk of serious pregnancy and neonatal outcomes that have been linked to Zika virus infection in pregnant women, the CDC recommends that health care providers should continue to also test pregnant women with possible exposure to the virus, even if they do not have symptoms.
Dr. Parry graduated from the University of Liverpool, England in 1997 and is a board-certified veterinary pathologist. After 13 years working in academia, she founded Midwest Veterinary Pathology, LLC where she now works as a private consultant. She is passionate about veterinary education and serves on the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association’s Continuing Education Committee. She regularly writes continuing education articles for veterinary organizations and journals, and has also served on the American College of Veterinary Pathologists’ Examination Committee and Education Committee.
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