More birth defects in Texas, other states where Zika spread

From San Antonio Express-News
January 27, 2018

Birth defects strongly linked to Zika during pregnancy have increased in southern Texas and other parts of the United States where mosquitoes infected women in 2016, according to a new report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a 21 percent increase in abnormally small heads (microcephaly) and other neurological defects during the second half of 2016 in those areas where women contracted the virus — Texas’ Cameron County, South Florida and Puerto Rico.

“This report highlights the critical importance of documenting birth defects possibly related to Zika and our need to maintain vigilance,” Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the CDC, said in a statement. “Babies with Zika-related birth defects need all the help they can get.”

But CDC researchers said they do not know if the increase is due to the local spread of Zika or other factors because there isn’t laboratory evidence of infection in most mothers who delivered babies with defects associated with the virus — either because they were never tested, weren’t tested at the right time or weren’t exposed to the virus.

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