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HOUSTON, TEXAS (July26,
The Zika virus and the birth defects it could inflict have struck fear in pregnant women since the disease spread to the Americas two years ago. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had been testing every pregnant woman with possible exposure, the organization relaxed its rules this week, with new guidelines saying women do not need to be tested unless they have ongoing exposure or have symptoms. "While it is encouraging that we have gathered more epidemiologic information that can help us refine recommendations, there are still a lot of unknowns about the virus during pregnancy, including when is the highest risk period for transmission and at what point after exposure a risk subsides," Clara Ward, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, tells Parents.com.