CDC predicts 25 percent Zika infection rate for Puerto Rico within the year

The Zika outbreak in Puerto Rico is expected to be worse than anywhere else in the U.S. The CDC estimates that 3.5 million people — a quarter of the island's population — will likely be infected with Zika within the year. Eventually 80 percent or more may become infected, according to The New York Times.

"I'm very concerned," Tom Frieden, MD, the CDC director, told The Times in an interview after a recent three-day visit to Puerto Rico. "There could be thousands of infections of pregnant women this year."

In Puerto Rico, trucks traverse through communities dispersing insecticide. New screens are being installed in schools to protect children from infection. Towns have been told to remove debris in which standing water could collect, providing the mosquito with space for incubation.

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The CDC is preparing to spend tens of millions of dollars to help Puerto Rico deal with the outbreak. They have also shipped blood and blood products to the island nation to help satisfy transfusion needs.

Puerto Rico is one of the nation's most popular vacation destinations. Thousands of tourists arrive and depart daily. There has been concern expressed about the contamination of the blood supply in the continental U.S.

In addition to microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads, Zika has exhibited a connection to other neurologically debilitating conditions such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, paralysis and deadly inflammation of the brain.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Quirky pest: 6 things to know about the difficult fight against the Zika-spreading mosquito 
Zika, HPV, flu: 5 recent stories on vaccines 
Researchers estimate potential Zika virus risk in 50 US cities: 5 findings

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