CDC MMWR: Prevalence of Microcephaly and Other Birth Defects Associated with Congenital Zika Virus Infection

Published Date: 
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Issue: 
No.192
Category: 
Resources, Reports, Research

A new article, Prevalence of Microcephaly and Other Birth Defects Associated with Congenital Zika Virus Infection — Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, 2013–2014, has been published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  This report utilized data from three birth defects surveillance systems in the United States, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, from 2013 to 2014. This data enabled the CDC to identify the number of births with evidence of defects, like those seen in infants born to women with Zika infection during pregnancy, before the introduction of Zika virus into the Americas. These types of birth defects occurred in about 3 out of every 1,000 births in 2013-2014. In comparison to 2016 data from the US Zika Pregnancy Registry (USZPR), these birth defects were 20 times more common in pregnancies with possible Zika virus infection. Birth defects affected about 6% (nearly 60 out of every 1,000) of completed pregnancies with Zika infection. This new report provides a reference for guidance on interpretation of the effect of Zika on the occurrence of birth defects in the United States. It also demonstrates the importance of surveillance systems collecting data on birth defects.

CDC continues to uphold recommendations that pregnant women refrain from travel to areas with Zika. If a pregnant woman must travel to, or resides, in an area with Zika, she should work with her healthcare provider to strictly follow the steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika virus. Pregnant women with possible exposure to Zika virus should be tested for Zika infection, even without the presence of symptoms.

To see more Zika resources, visit the CityMatCH Emerging MCH Issues page!

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