Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially announced that there are 279 pregnant women in the United States and the U.S. territories who carry the Zika virus. The CDC's findings were based on the pregnancy registry systems of the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and include all women who received laboratory confirmation of their diagnosis, regardless if they showed symptoms of Zika or not. Of these women, 157 reside in the continental U.S. and the remaining 122 live in the U.S. territories.
Previously, the CDC only reported cases of the virus in which women had both exhibited symptoms of Zika and tested positive for it; but due to the fact that symptomless pregnant women can still give birth to babies with microcephaly, the CDC has decided to change its reporting.
According to Time, this new statistic is inclusive both of women who are currently pregnant and those "who were infected during pregnancy and have given birth, terminated their pregnancy or miscarried." The majority of the 279 women claimed that they were infected with the virus while traveling, but an unspecified number were infected via sexual transmission.
"The data collected through these registries will be used to update recommendations for clinical care, to plan for services and support for pregnant women and families affected by Zika virus, and to improve prevention of Zika virus infection during pregnancy," the CDC's website reads.
Follow Marie Claire on Facebook for the latest celeb news, beauty tips, fascinating reads, livestream video, and more.