46 Zika Cases Found in Illinois, Including 3 Pregnant Women

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The world is just not going to give pregnant women a break lately. Between listeria outbreaks at chain restaurants, a fraught election coming up in a few months, and fears about the Zika virus causing severe fetal abnormalities, this is a pretty nerve-wracking time to be pregnant or thinking of becoming so. Now, adding more fuel to the fear fire, is news that at least 46 cases of Zika virus have been confirmed in Illinois, and three of the patients are pregnant women.

According to ABC News, at least three pregnant women in Illinois have been confirmed to have Zika virus. Those poor women must be terrified and devastated right now. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to hear that. And there are currently five more women waiting on test results to find out whether what they’ve contracted is Zika or Dengue fever.

Zika is spread by mosquitos, and while it is generally treatable and not life-threatening, when it affects a pregnant woman it can cause severe birth defects including microcephaly, which means the babies can be born with extremely small heads.

While this is devastating news for those women, Illinois health officials say the state is safe. All 46 people reportedly contracted Zika virus by traveling someplace where Zika-affected mosquitos live. The CDC has recently warned pregnant women away from visiting parts of Florida, because the mosquitos have been found there. Illinois has lots of mosquitos, but its cold weather makes it inhospitable to the particular mosquitos which have been identified as potential carriers of the Zika virus.