- By Deb Balzer
Mayo Clinic Expert on Zika Virus in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed its reporting of U.S. pregnant women affected by Zika virus to gain a bigger picture of the impact of the infection during pregnancy. In the U.S., 279 women are infected. This figure includes 122 women in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The World Health Organization says 58 countries have been affected by the mosquito-borne outbreak.
Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist Dr. Pritish Tosh says, "This is a major concern of worldwide global public health importance. We may have an entire generation of children that have an increased amount of microcephaly." Microcephaly is a birth defect that results in a baby with a smaller-than-normal head size than that of other children of the same age and sex.
Zika in the U.S
No locally transmitted cases of Zika virus have been identified in the U.S. states, meaning all cases have been acquired while traveling to Zika-endemic areas.
Dr. Pritish Tosh says, "There are a lot of concerns as summer approaches. We are certainly seeing Zika in people who have traveled to these endemic areas, but the concern is, especially in the southern parts of the United States, are we going to see Zika virus acquired locally, and, with that, comes the risk of birth defects, specifically microcephaly."
Testing for Zika virus
“There are some tests that are available. Some of those tests are looking for the virus itself, and other tests are looking at the body’s immune response." Dr. Tosh stresses, "They should be done in very specific situations. Not everyone who is concerned about it necessarily needs to be tested. And, it is related to where you went, how long ago, what are the symptoms, is there a pregnancy. There are tests available, but they need to be used in the appropriate clinical fashion.”
- Mayo Clinic Minute: Zika Endemic Areas (April 22, 2016)
- Zika Virus: Four Myths and What You Need to Know (April 18, 2016)
- Zika Virus News: Birth Defect Link Confirmed (April 14, 2016)
- Mayo Clinic Minute: Protect Yourself From Zika Virus (April 8, 2016)
- Zika Virus: CDC Guidelines and Pregnancy (April 1, 2016)
- Should Women Wait to Get Pregnant If Traveling to Zika-Endemic Area? (March 15, 2016)
- Developing a Vaccine to Protect Against Zika Virus (March 8, 2016)
- Mayo Clinic Begins Development of Zika Virus Vaccine (March 7, 2016)
- Further Investigation Needed on Zika Link to Guillain-Barré Syndrome (March 3, 2016)
- Zika Virus and Microcephaly: Need for More Research (Feb. 22, 2016)
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome and Zika: Is There a Connection? (Feb. 17, 2016)
- Zika Virus Impacts Blood Donations (Feb. 5, 2016)
- Transmission of Zika Virus and Dangers of Mosquitoes (Feb. 4, 2016)
- WHO Says Microcephaly-Zika Virus Link International Emergency (Feb. 1, 2016)
- Mayo Clinic Minute: Zika Virus (Jan. 21, 2016)
Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites are in the downloads.