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Zika infection late in pregnancy may be not so risky

No apparent birth defects reported in study of Colombian women infected in third trimester

5:05pm, June 15, 2016
pregnant woman's belly

HEALTHY BABY  In Colombia, a group of women thought to be infected with Zika virus during the third trimester of pregnancy have given birth to babies without microcephaly, or other obvious birth defects.

Early results from Zika cases tracked in Colombia suggest that the viral infection late in pregnancy is not linked to microcephaly, a birth defect that leaves infants with abnormally small heads and brains.

In a group of 1,850 pregnant women reportedly infected with the virus during the third trimester, more than 90 percent have given birth to babies without “apparent abnormalities,” researchers report online June 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The finding offers the barest glimmer of hope in the ongoing Zika crisis. Since 2015, the mosquito-borne virus has spread to 46 countries and left more than 1,500 babies with severe birth defects, including microcephaly and other malformations.

Any optimism should come with caution, says Anna Durbin, an infectious diseases physician at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The absence of microcephaly is “a huge

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