At least 320 pregnant women in the United States have tested positive for the Zika virus, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the symptoms of Zika can be mild — fever, rash and pink eye — and only manifest in one out of five infected people, the virus can cause devastating birth defects, including microcephaly. CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden termed the virus a “silent epidemic.”
In the U.S., seven babies have been born with birth defects after their mothers became infected with Zika during pregnancy. Five additional pregnancies showed fetuses with birth defects. Almost all cases of Zika in the U.S. were contracted while abroad, or through sexual contact with an infected person. It is estimated that “dozens and perhaps 50 pregnant women” are becoming infected daily in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.
With a federal funding bill at an impasse, President Obama has spoken strongly in favor of finding a solution before Congress recesses for the summer. On Wednesday, 11 new cases of Zika were announced in Florida — a record for the number of cases reported in one state in one day.
“It’s a tragedy for each family affected,” said Dr. Frieden. “Hundreds and hundreds of American women [are] dealing with this.”
Read the full story at ABC.