The news this week is dominated by virus science.
The first United States baby with Zika related microcephaly has been born in New York City. While this is not surprising, the fact that many women are ignoring Zika related travel warnings is. This summer, over 2000 pregnant women traveled to Zika affected areas and have com back requesting testing. In many cases, they are traveling to the Dominican Republic. AS f the present, cases from the Dominican Republic account for more than a fifth of all US cases. The CDC(Centers fro Disesase Control) and the American Academy of Pediatrics are grappling with how to develop protocols to care for infants who will be born with microcephaly. These infants have serious mental and physical disabilities since the higher portions of the brain are underdeveloped.
Florida is one of the most vulnerable states in the Union to the Zika virus. Authorities estimates over a quarter of a million women are at risk in Florida. Various research indicates that a Medicaid expansion there would help reduce the risk of pregnancy women to Zika. There is also a push to require employers to take measures to limit their pregnant employees exposure to mosquitos.
As of mid July the CDC is tracking around 1300 cases of pregnant women with Zika. Fourteen were sexually transmitted, and the rest acquired through travel.
There is also a Utah case on record this week of a man who acquired Zika through close family contact. He was taking care of an elderly man who had acquired Zika due to travel.
Hepatitis C is on the rise, both in women of reproductive age, and not surprisingly, in their children under 2. There is no vaccine yet for Hepatitis C, but very recently, a very good treatment has been released.
In other viral news, work has been done showing that certain vaginal flora (Prevotella BIVIA) make it easier to transmit HIV. However, a silicone ring imbued with antiviral drug may help reduce the risk of transmission. Pregnant women with HIV have now been shown to do better if their therapy is continued postpartum.
Finally, in some other good news pertaining to viruses, the American Cancer Society has endorse the vaccination of all preteens, boys and girls against HPV (Human papilloma virus.).
Say tuned for more riveting news from the word of Ob/Gyn next week on Medical Monday.