Physician Practice

Facts emerging on Zika's effect on pregnancy

Physician Practice Insider, November 1, 2016

Two new studies have found that women who contract the Zika virus late in a pregnancy have a low risk of birth defects, but that up to 13% of women who contract the disease early in a pregnancy may have children with birth defects.

The more recent of the two studies, published in the May issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, tracked 1,850 women in Colombia who were pregnant and tested positive for the Zika virus. It found that women who contracted Zika in their third trimester had a negligible risk of giving birth to babies with birth defects.

“Preliminary surveillance data in Colombia suggest that maternal infection with the Zika virus disease (ZVD) during the third trimester of a pregnancy is not linked to structural abnormalities in the fetus,” the report concluded. “However, the monitoring of the effect of ZVD on pregnant women in Colombia is ongoing.”

“I think it’s somewhat reassuring that there were no major birth defects identified,” says study co-author Margaret Honein of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This article was originally published in Physician Practice Perspectives. Subscribers can read the full article in the September 2016 issue.

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