The total number of pregnant women with evidence of Zika virus infection reported in the U.S. territories surpassed that of the 50 states and the District of Columbia during the week ending July 28, 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There were 71 new cases of Zika in pregnant women reported in U.S. territories that week, bringing the total for the year to 493. The states and D.C. reported 46 new cases, for a total of 479 for the year, which puts the United States as a whole at 972 cases of confirmed Zika virus infection in pregnant women for 2016, the CDC reported Aug. 4.
Among the territories, the overwhelming majority of Zika cases are in Puerto Rico, which has reported 5,482 cases so far, compared with 44 in American Samoa and 22 in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In all, there have been 1,825 cases reported in the states and D.C., the CDC reported.
The territories, so far, have mostly avoided Zika-related pregnancy losses and birth defects, with only one case of pregnancy loss and no infants born with birth defects in 2016. Two more cases of infants born with birth defects were reported, however, in the states and D.C. for the week ending July 28, bringing the state/D.C. total to 15 for the year, but no new pregnancy losses with Zika-related birth defects were added to the six reported so far, the CDC announced.
“These outcomes occurred in pregnancies with laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection,” the CDC noted, and it is not known “whether they were caused by Zika virus infection or other factors.”
The figures for states, territories, and D.C. reflect reporting to the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry; data for Puerto Rico are reported to the U.S. Zika Active Pregnancy Surveillance System.
Zika-related birth defects recorded by the CDC could include microcephaly, calcium deposits in the brain indicating possible brain damage, excess fluid in the brain cavities and surrounding the brain, absent or poorly formed brain structures, abnormal eye development, or other problems resulting from brain damage that affect nerves, muscles, and bones. The pregnancy losses encompass any miscarriage, stillbirth, and termination with evidence of birth defects.