There are 279 pregnant women in the United States and in U.S. territories who have Zika, health officials announced on Friday. There are 157 women pregnant women with the virus in the continental United States and 122 infected pregnant women in U.S. territories.
The new numbers are from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Zika pregnancy registry systems in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. The new numbers include all pregnant women who have had laboratory confirmation of a Zika infection regardless of whether they had symptoms or not.
Until now, the CDC defined and reported cases of Zika as people who had symptoms and a positive test for the virus. Since evidence suggests that pregnant women with Zika but without symptoms can also have babies with microcephaly, the agency will now report all pregnant women with evidence of Zika virus. Most people who get a Zika virus infection do not have symptoms.
While the majority of pregnant women the CDC is monitoring were infected with Zika while they traveled, the agency says some of these women were infected via sexual transmission. The agency would not confirm how many pregnant women were infected sexually versus by traveling overseas.
The total number includes the pregnant women who are currently pregnant and women who were infected during pregnancy and have given birth, terminated their pregnancy or miscarried. The CDC is monitoring the women through their pregnancies to understand their outcomes.