This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Zika is in the US--Sort Of

Yesterday brought the terrible news of a baby born with microchepaly in New Jersey to a mother with the Zika virus. As ScienceAlert reports, the woman was pregnant and knew she had the virus when she arrived from Honduras to visit relatives in New Jersey. She apparently traveled to the U.S. with the express purpose of seeking care in this country, thus creating this somewhat unusual situation. The only other confirmed case had been in Hawaii, so this was the first in the continental U.S.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there are now over 300 pregnant woman in the US with "laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection". Not every baby that’s born with Zika will have microcephaly or brain defects, but the CDC estimates the number between 1-13 percent.
The CDC has also advised pregnant woman to avoid travelling to the areas where mosquitos have been shown to carry Zika. This has also put a strain on the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, with some athletes speaking out about those competing this summer.
As reported on MSNBC this morning, all known cases of the Zika virus currently identified in the U.S. have been contracted outside of the country. The concern, of course, is that one or more of the several hundred people known to have it could be bitten by a mosquito in the U.S. and that could then accelerate the spread.

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