2 US Women Get Abortions Following Zika Diagnosis

Another two miscarried
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2016 4:40 PM CST
2 US Women Get Abortions Following Zika Diagnosis
Two pregnant American women infected with the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus had abortions. Two more miscarried, and one gave birth to a baby with microcephaly.   (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

Two of the nine pregnant American woman who tested positive for the Zika virus have had abortions, People reports. In one of the cases, an ultrasound showed the woman's fetus had "severe brain abnormalities." Two more of the women have miscarried and another gave birth to a baby with microcephaly. According to NBC News, the other four women have either given birth to healthy babies or are still carrying what appear to be healthy babies. Those numbers have surprised experts. "We did not expect to see these brain abnormalities in this small case series of US pregnant travelers," says a doctor with the CDC. "It is unexpected and greater than what we would have expected." The CDC is currently investigating an additional 10 suspected cases of Zika in pregnant American women.

Zika has not been confirmed to cause microcephaly in infants, though it's looking more and more likely. More than 5,600 cases of microcephaly have been reported in Brazil since October. It also isn't clear whether Zika caused the two miscarriages. But doctors in Brazil are starting to worry the virus could lead to stillbirths, Live Science reports. A Brazilian woman recently gave birth to a stillborn fetus that had "large parts" of its brain missing, in addition to a host of other medical issues. The fetus tested positive for Zika. "This is really the first virus that is not causing neurological damage to the host, or the person the mosquito bites, but it is actually transmitted to the fetus that the host is carrying," one expert says. Every pregnant American woman with Zika had recently traveled to one of the two-dozen countries where the virus is proliferating. (More Zika virus stories.)

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