Nine pregnant women in the United States have tested positive for Zika, according to U.S. health officials. In a new report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that among the 9 confirmed cases in pregnant women, two of the women had miscarriages, two women elected to have abortions, two infants were born healthy, one baby was born with microcephaly, and two pregnancies are still ongoing.
The agency is also investigating 10 additional possible infections in pregnant women.
In the two women who elected to have an abortion, imaging showed the fetus brain was impacted, experts from the CDC said during a press conference. Health experts are still trying to definitively prove that the virus is linked to microcephaly, but the evidence is very strong that that's the case.
All of the pregnant women reported at least one of the most common symptoms of Zika: fever, rash, red eyes, or joint pain. Among the women who had miscarriages, abortions, and the birth of child with microcephaly all experienced their symptoms during the first trimester. Two women who experienced symptoms later in their pregnancies delivered healthy babies. Researchers are trying to determine whether the timing of infection during pregnancy plays a role.
The CDC said it is important to keep in mind that miscarriage during the first trimester is extremely common, so it's hard to determine if Zika was the definitive cause of miscarriage for these women.
In a second report, the CDC says that there are 14 cases of suspected sexually transmitted Zika in the United States—which suggests it is more common than previously thought. So far, all the documented cases of sexually transmitted Zika have come from men who were either experiencing symptoms or had just gotten over their symptoms.
Again, the CDC says it's still not known whether that distinction is important.