The U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) will carry out a comprehensive study on zika virus and pregnant women, especially in Latin America.
The study began in Puerto Rico and will expand to Brazil, Colombia and other countries. In total, about 10,000 pregnant women were recruited, aiming to collect data to determine the extent of the health risks posed by zika for pregnant women, fetuses and children.
Zika virus is mainly spread by infected mosquitoes but it can also be sexually transmitted and through feto-maternal transfer.
The virus is linked to an increase in microcephaly cases, a rare birth defect in which a baby is born with abnormally small skull and brain and possible neurological damage.
Participants in this study will be subject to monitoring until delivery.