NIH investigates how Zika virus affects pregnant women
This international effort has been designed to determine the amount of health risks that pregnant women and their unborn children face with respect to the circulating Zika virus infection.
Puerto Rico first opened the study. Soon it will expand to Colombia, Brazil and other regions that show active local transmissions of Zika. The virus typically transmits to humans when infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes bite them. Unfortunately, there are other ways to transmit the virus, including sexually and from mother to child.
“The full scope of the effect of Zika virus in pregnancy has not yet been fully determined,” NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said. “This large prospective study promises to provide important new data that will help guide the medical and public health responses to the Zika virus epidemic.”
Because of the recent and significant spread of the Zika virus, it is crucial to fully understand the extent of harm that the virus can cause among pregnant women.
“Zika virus has spread rapidly through the Americas,” NICHD Acting Director Catherine Spong said. “We anticipate that this study will provide important information on the link between Zika infection and pregnancy complications and inform strategies to help safeguard the health of mothers and their newborns.”