The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established a “Zika Pregnancy Registry” to collect information on the type and prevalence of birth defects associated with mothers who were infected with Zika during pregnancy. There are many unknowns. Microcephaly is caused by Zika. What about other birth defects? When is the risk greatest? 1st Trimester? 2nd Trimester? 3rd Trimester? Do risks differ at different stages of pregnancy. This type of information can be useful to better protect the population. Recorded cases can be studied by epidemiologists, researchers who look for correlations with environmental or disease factors. When people are making important decisions about their family and future, information that is more comprehensive and more certain is helpful. The CDC writes the following:
“Need for a US Zika Pregnancy Registry
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Infection during pregnancy has also been linked to adverse outcomes including pregnancy loss and impaired growth in fetuses and infants. Despite these observations, many questions remain about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy. Information about the timing, absolute risk, and spectrum of outcomes associated with Zika virus infection during pregnancy is needed to direct public health action related to Zika virus and guide testing, evaluation, and management.
US Zika Pregnancy Registry
To understand more about Zika virus infection, CDC established the US Zika Pregnancy Registry and is collaborating with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments to collect information about Zika virus infection during pregnancy and congenital Zika virus infection. The data collected through this registry will be used to update recommendations for clinical care, to plan for services for pregnant women and families affected by Zika virus, and to improve prevention of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.”
The registry keeps the information confidential so it can be provided to those who can learn from the data while protecting privacy. Zika is a PUBLIC HEALTH problem. Like all public health problems, the support and participation of individuals enhances the safety of larger public.