Here's What Pregnant Women Actually Need To Know About The Zika Virus
Before you panic, read this.
So you've probably heard of Zika, the mosquito-borne virus turned epidemic in Latin America.
The Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through infected mosquitos in tropical regions — there is no vaccine or cure. The first outbreak happened last May in Brazil, and now there are epidemics in 22 other countries in Central and South America. The CDC has also confirmed over 30 travel-acquired cases in the United States, and it's estimated that 3 to 4 million people in the Americas could become infected with Zika in the next year.
Even though Zika is generally a mild virus, it was recently declared a global health emergency as the epidemic coincides with a rise in babies born with birth defects. In Brazil, the prevalence of Microcephaly (a condition where a fetus' brain stops growing so the baby is born with an abnormally small head and brain damage) during the second half of 2015 was over 10 times higher than the historical prevalence. And experts believe that Zika infections during pregnancy may be to blame.