Two U.S. women contracted the Zika virus while traveling out of the country and miscarried after returning home, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday. The virus was also found in their placentas. There had been no prior reports of miscarriages in American travelers infected by Zika while abroad, but miscarriages and stillbirths are being researched in Brazil, the epicenter of the Zika epidemic, to try to identify possible connections to the virus. Some viral infections, like Rubella or German measles, are capable of spreading from an expectant mother’s body and infecting the cells of the fetus.
Last month, a baby born with microcephaly in a Hawaii hospital became the first child in the country with a birth defect linked to Zika. More than four dozen Zika cases have been confirmed in the US — six involving pregnant women — with another 21 cases in U.S. territories. The World Health Organization suggests that “all men and women living in or returning from an area where Zika is present… be counseled on the potential risks of sexual transmission and ensure safe sexual practices.”
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