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Featured / Health / News / Virgin Islands / July 12, 2017

The territory experienced a spike in the number of pregnant women who have been infected with the Zika virus, according to the Department of Health’s latest report. D.O.H. reported a jump from 239 to 254 new confirmed pregnant women cases week-over-week, a total of 15 new cases.

In May, D.O.H. made known that a child in the territory was born with the Zika-related birth defect microcephaly — the first and so far only recorded case in the U.S. Virgin Islands — which was confirmed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) testing, according to D.O.H. Health officials did not reveal on which island the baby was born.

However, five percent of pregnant women with a confirmed Zika infection in the United States territories, went on to have a baby with a related birth defect, according to the most comprehensive report to date from federal officials.

The report, published on June 8 by the C.D.C. (via The New York Times), also provided for the first time preliminary estimates of this risk by trimester. Previously, there were not enough births following exposure to the Zika virus to make such estimates.

This new report reviewed nearly 2,550 cases of women with possible Zika virus infection who completed pregnancies — meaning they gave birth, miscarried or experienced stillbirth — from Jan. 1, 2016 to April 25, 2017.

Roughly 1,500 of those women had Zika infection actually confirmed by laboratory testing.

Eight percent of offspring of pregnant women in U.S. territories with a positive nucleic acid test for Zika infection in the first trimester had birth defects linked to the virus. By contrast, 5 percent of these infants did when infection occurred in the second trimester, and 4 percent in the third trimester.

The territory also saw two new general cases of the Zika virus according to the D.O.H. report. Last week’s total confirmed general cases was 1,019, with 682 cases in St. Thomas, 249 in St. Croix and 88 in St. John.

This week, the number of general cases grew to 1,021, with St. Croix and St. John experiencing one new case respectively. St. Thomas saw no new cases this week, according to D.O.H.


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