Mothers infected with Zika in 1st trimester more likely to have babies with microcephaly

Fetuses are at the highest risk of developing Zika-related microcephaly when mothers are infected in the first half of pregnancy, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

According to the report's findings, from Jan. 31 through mid-November 2016, Colombia experienced 476 case of microcephaly, 432 of which occurred among live-born infants. The other 44 fetuses were lost during pregnancy. Researchers found cases of microcephaly peaked approximately six months after the highest number of Zika cases were reported, suggesting the highest period of risk for Zika-related microcephaly is in the first half of pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester up to early in the second trimester.

"In the absence of a vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection or a specific medication for treatment, prevention strategies include avoiding travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission, preventing mosquito bites through personal protection and vector control, and avoiding sexual transmission," concluded the study's authors.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
HHS awards $40M to US territories for Zika fight 
Last zone of local Zika transmission lifted in Miami Beach 
4 more babies born with Zika-related birth defects in US

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