American women are growing increasingly alarmed about the Zika virus, according to doctors who report being inundated with questions about the disease. In Houston, which happens to be in a county with one of the highest birth rates in the U.S., fears are running “pretty high,” according to Dr. Joey England, a maternal-fetal specialist with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Houston is one of a few cities in the U.S. which public health officials are monitoring for possible transmission of Zika via mosquitoes. While Zika hasn’t yet been found to have been transmitted by mosquitoes in the U.S. mainland, public health officials believe that is likely to change as the weather warms and mosquito populations rise. The mosquitoes capable of carrying the Zika virus can be found from California to the Gulf Coast, and along the Eastern Seaboard as far north as southern Maine.
Thus far there have been 12 cases in the U.S. of babies and fetuses with birth defects tied to travel-related Zika infections, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 287 pregnant women in the U.S. have also tested positive for the virus. The CDC estimates that for women infected during the first trimester of their pregnancy, the risk of their child contracting microcephaly lies between one and 13 percent. Another study performed in Rio de Janeiro, however, painted a bleaker outlook: abnormalities were found in the fetuses of 29 percent of pregnant women infected by the virus who took an ultrasound.
Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.