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Zika Infection in Third Trimester May Not Harm Development

Colombian study found no cases of microcephaly when infection occurred in 3rd trimester

THURSDAY, June 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The danger of Zika-related birth defects may be confined to maternal infections that occur during the first two trimesters of pregnancy, according to a study led by Margaret Honein, Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and published online June 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Colombian and U.S. researchers studied 11,944 pregnancies occurring in 2015 among women in Colombia, a country that is endemic for the mosquito that spreads the Zika virus.

The study detected no cases of infant abnormalities among women who contracted Zika during the last three months of their pregnancy, the researchers said. They stressed that at the time of the study’s publication, 10 percent of the 1,850 women infected late in pregnancy had not yet given birth, therefore the data remain incomplete and preliminary.

Still, data on the other 90 percent of women suggest that “maternal infection with the Zika virus during the third trimester of pregnancy is not linked to structural abnormalities in the fetus,” the researchers concluded.

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