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Study: Zika Infections Late In Pregnancy Led To No Defects

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A study of women who were infected with the Zika virus late in pregnancy found that none had babies with apparent birth defects.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine online Wednesday, seems to confirm that the greatest risk to infants comes early in pregnancy.

MORE ON ZIKA: Basics | FAQ | Info For Pregnant Women | Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment | More Info | 10 Facts About The Zika Virus

Researchers tracked women infected in Colombia and also found troubling cases of severe birth defects in babies born to women who never realized they had contracted Zika.

Zika virus is spread mainly through the bite of a tropical mosquito but it can also be contracted through sexual contact.

It causes only a mild and brief illness, at worst, in most people and many don't even realize they've been infected. But it can cause fetal deaths, microcephaly and other severe birth defects in the children of women infected during pregnancy.

A total of 10 countries so far have reported cases of microcephaly linked to Zika. With more than 1,400 reported cases, Brazil has the most, by far.

There have been more than 500 Zika cases in the U.S., all involving people who were infected in outbreak areas in South America, Central America or the Caribbean or people who had sex with infected travelers.

Last month, a Honduran woman with Zika gave birth to a baby with microcephaly at a hospital in New Jersey.

Her doctor said the woman was diagnosed with Zika in her native Honduras after lab results were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation of the virus. She then came to New Jersey, where she has family, to seek further treatment.

Connecticut kicked off a Zika awareness campaign on Thursday at Bradley International Airport, WCBS 880's Fran Schneidau reported. The educational initiative includes posters warning passengers on flights to Puerto Rico that travelers to the American tropics are at risk for mosquito-borne diseases, including Zika. Printed in English and Spanish, the posters advise how to avoid mosquito bites.

"We have to take this seriously and what we have rolled out is a series of public announcements both in English and Spanish, if it's in Spanish it will have subtitles as well," Gov. Dan Malloy said.

There are now 14 confirmed Zika cases in New Jersey and 127 in New York. All were contracted in other countries.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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