A Quarter of U.S. Babies With Zika-Related Birth Defects Were Born in New York

In addition to releasing the data, the city announced a new campaign against the virus aimed at pregnant women.

“Last year, the city took unprecedented action to raise awareness and reach out to communities about the risks of traveling to areas with Zika transmission,” the health commissioner, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, said in a statement. “This season, our campaign and awareness efforts are shaped by what we learned over the past year. Although local transmission of the Zika virus remains unlikely, the virus continues to circulate in Latin America and the Caribbean islands. We urge women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, along with their sexual partners, to avoid traveling to these areas.”

Several new studies of the virus and its genetic makeup have shown that it may have been circulating in Brazil months before it was detected and that it migrated north to Central America and then the Caribbean long before previously known.

The virus was able to move stealthily throughout the Americas in part because it rarely causes serious illness in healthy men and women. However, it poses grave risks to pregnant women since it can cross the placenta and infect a fetus in the womb. So even as epidemiologists were rushing to understand the rash of babies being born with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads, the virus continued its spread.

By the end of last year, more than 2,300 babies in Brazil had been born with the condition, which is associated with often severe developmental delays, and dozens of countries were tracking outbreaks of their own.

While Zika has now faded from the headlines, and officials in Brazil have declared the state of emergency over, experts worry that the virus could prove resurgent in the Caribbean this summer.

Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, where the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads…

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