CDC Report’s Abstract (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Background: In collaboration with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments, CDC established the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry (USZPR) in early 2016 to monitor pregnant women with laboratory evidence of possible recent Zika virus infection and their infants.
Methods: This report includes an analysis of completed pregnancies (which include live births and pregnancy losses, regardless of gestational age) in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (DC) with laboratory evidence of possible recent Zika virus infection reported to the USZPR from January 15 to December 27, 2016. Birth defects potentially associated with Zika virus infection during pregnancy include brain abnormalities and/or microcephaly, eye abnormalities, other consequences of central nervous system dysfunction, and neural tube defects and other early brain malformations.
Results: During the analysis period, 1,297 pregnant women in 44 states were reported to the USZPR. Zika virus–associated birth defects were reported for 51 (5%) of the 972 fetuses/infants from completed pregnancies with laboratory evidence of possible recent Zika virus infection (95% confidence interval [CI] = 4%–7%); the proportion was higher when restricted to pregnancies with laboratory-confirmed Zika virus infection (24/250 completed pregnancies [10%, 95% CI = 7%–14%]). Birth defects were reported in 15% (95% CI = 8%–26%) of fetuses/infants of completed pregnancies with confirmed Zika virus infection in the first trimester. Among 895 liveborn infants from pregnancies with possible recent Zika virus infection, postnatal neuroimaging was reported for 221 (25%), and Zika virus testing of at least one infant specimen was reported for 585 (65%).
Conclusions and Implications for Public Health Practice: These findings highlight why pregnant women should avoid Zika virus exposure. Because the full clinical spectrum of congenital Zika virus infection is not yet known, all infants born to women with laboratory evidence of possible recent Zika virus infection during pregnancy should receive postnatal neuroimaging and Zika virus testing in addition to a comprehensive newborn physical exam and hearing screen. Identification and follow-up care of infants born to women with laboratory evidence of possible recent Zika virus infection during pregnancy and infants with possible congenital Zika virus infection can ensure that appropriate clinical services are available.
Pregnant women infected with Zika risk giving birth to babies with an abnormally small head and brain. Credit: Flickr, bra_j
Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). There is no vaccine for Zika virus disease yet, which causes symptoms like mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, or headache. The symptoms subside after 3-7 days but the biggest threat Zika possess is to pregnant women. It’s well established now that pregnant women infected with Zika risk giving birth to babies with microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and brains, and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
“Zika virus can be scary and potentially devastating to families. Zika continues to be a threat to pregnant women across the U.S.,” said CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat, M.D. “With warm weather and a new mosquito season approaching, prevention is crucial to protect the health of mothers and babies. Healthcare providers can play a key role in prevention efforts.”
The CDC report confirms previous studies which found women infected in the first trimester of their pregnancy are the most vulnerable. Some 15% of American women known to be infected with Zika during their first trimester had babies with birth defects. Overall, 10% of infected pregnant American women gave birth to babies with brain damage or other birth defects, so getting infected later in pregnancy can also be risky.
In total, the report covered 1,297 pregnancies which were tracked from Jan. 15 through Dec. 27, 2017. Of these pregnancies, 972 were confirmed to be Zika infected by lab evidence, which resulted in 895 live births and 77 losses (abortions, miscarriages, stillbirths). Every 50 state and Washington, D.C, had at least once case of Zika-infected pregnancy.
Overall, 51 babies were born with birth defects. For the 250 cases or so where the presence of the Zika virus was confirmed, 24 pregnancies or 10 percent resulted in birth defects, most of which involved microcephaly. In eight cases, the damage included other brain malformations and dysfunctions in the central nervous system.
The report comes with a couple of caveats. Only 25 percent of the babies included in the study had their brains scanned, despite the CDC’s recommendation that all babies born to women with potential Zika infections should have their brains scanned. This limitation means we’re likely underestimating the birth defects that follow Zika in pregnancy. For instance, some babies that look fine at birth, i.e. with a normally sized head, might later be diagnosed with some congenital Zika syndrome.
“CDC recommends that pregnant women avoid travel to areas with risk of Zika and unprotected sex with a partner who has traveled to an area with Zika to prevent Zika-related birth defects in their babies,” said Peggy Honein, Ph.D., the Zika Response’s Pregnancy and Birth Defects Task Force co-lead. “CDC continues to work closely with health departments on the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry to follow up infants with possible congenital Zika virus infection and better understand the full range of disabilities that can result from this infection.”
Key findings from the CDC's report
Source: ZME Science and CDC
HEAG Medical Community Ghana ("HMCG") Project
HMCG operates a multi-disciplinary physicians office, which will include private care physician services, as well as physical therapy services, a dialysis center, and a rehabilitative center, among other services. It will have approximately 120 to 150 beds.
HEAG Medical Center Ghana (“HMCG”) is established as a private, for-profit service provider, Phase I new 41,000 sustainable medical care/treatment square foot facilities. It will build a strong market presence and brand recognition by offering the highest quality, world-class services at a competitive price. HMCG will meet the broad healthcare needs of a growing and demanding higher income demographic in the Greater Accra Region, and also providing medical health humanitarian outreach services for the rest of Ghana, and beyond.
HMCG will provide partnering opportunities with specialists, both national and international, in every medical and surgical field, will network with pharmaceutical FDA Drugs, Medical supplies providing management and distribution. The HEAG Medical Management Team will provide the ability to set up private practices within the facility. These medical professionals will work effectively with each other to ensure a team-based approach to patient care which will be a key to HMCG’s success.