According to Fox News, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed Friday that 157 pregnant women in the U.S. are infected with the Zika virus and another 122 who live in U.S. territories are also infected.
The mosquito born virus, while not as lethal as Ebola, can cause microcephaly in newborn babies.
— Scott Udell (@sm_udell) May 20, 2016
The news comes just days after the CDC announced the Zika virus is without question the cause of microcephaly in Zika infected newborns. Microcephaly can lead to cerebral development problems in newborns, leaving the babies with an abnormally small head.
And the CDC is not taking the outbreak lightly. The agency announced Monday it needed $1.8 billion from Congress to fight the outbreak, and later in the day announced it had moved its emergency operations in Atlanta into the highest-level of alert.
The Zika outbreak was first detected in Brazil last year when an unusual number of babies were being born with microcephaly. Brazil quickly identified the virus and how it was spread and began a country-wide battle to eliminate the mosquitos carrying the disease.
Infants are not the only ones who can experience complications. Adults can develop the paralyzing Guillain-Barre syndrome, which begins in the toes and works its way upward and can lead to an inability to breathe.
The CDC is monitoring 279 pregnant women with onfirmed or suspected Zika virus infections https://t.co/C3E8toFhnM
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 20, 2016
While Miami, Houston and Orlando are the cities with the highest risk of Zika outbreak, the virus will most likely not be contained to those areas. The Zika virus is also spread among humans via sexual contact.
While experts contend the outbreaks will initially be limited to areas in the deep South as mosquito season cranks up in June, cases of Zika may spread up along the Southeast coast.