By Shefali Luthra
Kaiser Health News
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling on doctors to more aggressively screen pregnant women for the Zika virus and to take advantage of new testing technology to improve the diagnosis, follow-up and monitoring of those who have been infected.
The guidance, published Monday, comes amid growing concerns about Zika, which is spread by mosquito bite and sexually transmitted. If contracted by pregnant women, it can result in severe birth defects — including microcephaly, which stunts children’s brain development.
It has also been implicated in miscarriages and diseases like Guillain-Barre, a neurological disorder that causes temporary paralysis.
By urging testing for more pregnant women, the recommendations “will improve our ability to give definitive diagnoses of the Zika infection to those women who are at the highest risk,” said Margaret Honein, who chairs the CDC’s birth defects branch. She was also a co-author on the guidance. [Read more…]