Number of US babies born with Zika defects grows to 72
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported 8 more babies born in the United States with Zika-related birth defects, raising the total to 72. The number of pregnancy losses related to the virus remained at eight. So far 1,579 of 1,883 women who are part of the US Zika Pregnancy Registry have completed their pregnancies, with or without birth defects.
In a related development, a Florida health official said seven babies have been born in the state with Zika-related complications, the Orlando Sentinel reported on May 30. Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, Florida's surgeon general, said the locations of the affected babies won't be revealed because of privacy concerns, according to the report. She said the state has hired extra staff to help connect families to appropriate healthcare.
According to the Florida Department of Health (Florida Health), 344 Zika infections have been detected in pregnant women in the state.
Jun 1 CDC Zika pregnancy outcome update
May 30 Orlando Sentinel story
Florida Health Zika page
WHO announces new vector-control program
The World Health Organization (WHO) introduced a new vector-control program today, which aims to make mosquito control a priority to help beat back the threat of dengue, Zika, chikungunya, malaria, and other mosquito-borne viruses.
The Global Vector Control Response (GVCR) 2017-2030 outlines several goals and activities to reduce mortality from vector-borne diseases by at least 75% and incidence by at least 60% by 2030 and to prevent epidemics worldwide. The WHO said approximately 80% of the world's population is at risk for these diseases.
"Rapid unplanned urbanization, massive increases in international travel and trade, altered agricultural practices and other environmental changes are fuelling the spread of vectors worldwide, putting more and more people at risk," the WHO said in an announcement.
The GCVR's initial budget is $330 million US per year, which is less than 10% of what is currently spent each year controlling vectors that spread malaria, dengue, and Chagas disease.
In addition to strengthening surveillance, the GCVR will invest in new technologies, including spatial repellents and odor-baited traps, and developing a common bacterium (Wolbachia) that stops viruses from replicating inside mosquitoes.
Jun 1 WHO announcement