The official number of pregnant women infected with Zika virus in the United States has tripled since last week, due primarily to a change in how governmental officials count cases. Previously, only women with Zika symptoms as well as a positive blood test for the virus were included in the tally. But on Friday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it would henceforth include all women who tested positive, regardless of symptoms. It was reported last week, under the prior metric, that there were 48 pregnant women infected with Zika in the U.S. Under the new metric, that number has been adjusted to 157.
Experts have insisted that the sudden increase in cases should not be cause for alarm in the U.S., where the risk of infection remains the same as it had been — low. There have been 544 cases of Zika so far in the U.S., all of them from people who traveled to outbreak areas or had sex with someone who did. There are concerns, however, that the disease might start spreading further as hot weather causes mosquito populations to boom.
On Thursday, the Senate approved a $1.1 billion plan to combat Zika, but, since the House only approved $622 million, an exact amount remains to be negotiated. Administration officials had asked Congress for roughly $1.9 billion in emergency funding.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.