Zika epidemic worsens in Puerto Rico

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As of July 7, there have been 5,582 people in Puerto Rico diagnosed with Zika, including 672 cases in pregnant women, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Friday.

Of the confirmed Zika infections in pregnant women, 66 percent displayed symptoms of the virus while 34 percent did not. Because approximately 80 percent of those infected with Zika do not exhibit symptoms, the 672 confirmed cases could potentially represent just a fraction of the actual number of pregnant women with a Zika infection.

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"Puerto Rico is in the midst of a Zika epidemic. The virus is silently and rapidly spreading in Puerto Rico," said Lyle R. Petersen, MD, incident manager for the CDC's Zika Response. "This could lead to hundreds of infants being born with microcephaly or other birth defects in the coming year. We must do all we can to protect pregnant women from Zika and to prepare to care for infants born with microcephaly."

Local transmission was first reported in Puerto Rico in December. Since that time, the virus has proliferated across the island. Recently, the CDC announced it will not move forward with a proposal to conduct aerial spraying across Puerto Rico due concerns raised by the Governor regarding the potential negative effects of the insecticide on both the human and wildlife populations.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
FDA halts blood collection in 2 Fla. counties over Zika fears  
Evidence of mosquito transmission of Zika in Florida mounts  
CDC updates Zika guidance: 4 things to know 

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