The rise of Zika infections in the U.S. has led many moms-to-be to reach for their mosquito spray. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a study showing that Zika infection in pregnancy may increase the risk of various birth defects twentyfold — and may make brain abnormalities and microcephaly 33 times more likely.
What the study looked at
The study, published this week in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, examined data from birth defects surveillance programs in Massachusetts, North Carolina and Georgia in 2013 and 2014, before Zika arrived in the U.S. The researchers also looked at data from the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry during roughly nine months in 2016.
The scientists used the information to track the frequency of several defects associated with Zika, including brain abnormalities, microcephaly, neural tube defects and other early brain malformations, eye defects, and problems with the central nervous system.
What the research found
The study found that women with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy were 20 times more likely to have babies with birth defects than were women in the general population…