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Sascha Ellington - Top 30 Publications

Prevalence, Magnitude, and Correlates of HIV-1 Genital Shedding in Women on Antiretroviral Therapy.

Genital human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) RNA shedding can continue despite HIV being undetectable in blood, and can be associated with transmission.

Addressing Maternal Health During CDC's Ebola Response in the United States.

Previous outbreaks suggest that pregnant women with Ebola virus disease (EVD) are at increased risk for severe disease and death. Healthcare workers who treat pregnant women with EVD are at increased risk of body fluid exposure. Despite the absence of pregnant women with EVD in the United States, CDC activated the Maternal Health Team (MHT), a functional unit dedicated to emergency preparedness and response issues, on October 18, 2014. We describe major activities of the MHT. A high-priority MHT activity was to publish guiding principles early in the response. The MHT also prepared guidance documents, provided guidance and technical support for hospital preparedness, and addressed inquiries. We analyzed maternal health inquiries received through CDC-INFO, MHT, and CDC's Medical Investigations Team from August 2014 to December 2015. Internal call logs used to capture, monitor, and track inquiries for the three data sources were merged. Inquiries not related to maternal health issues and duplicates were removed. Each inquiry was categorized by route (email/phone), inquirer type, and topic. In total, 201 inquiries were received from clinicians, public health professionals, and the public. The predominant topic was related to infection control for high-risk situations such as labor and delivery. During the Ebola response, most inquiries were received via email rather than telephone, a notable shift compared to the H1N1 emergency response. Lessons learned during the H1N1 and Ebola responses are currently informing CDC's Zika Response, an unprecedented emergency response primarily focused on reproductive health issues.

Maternal but Not Infant Anti-HIV-1 Neutralizing Antibody Response Associates with Enhanced Transmission and Infant Morbidity.

A significant number of infants acquire HIV-1 through their infected mother's breast milk, primarily due to limited access to antiretrovirals. Passive immunization with neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) may prevent this transmission. Previous studies, however, have generated conflicting results about the ability of nAbs to halt mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) and their impact on infant outcomes. This study compared plasma neutralizing activity in exposed infants and the infected mothers (n = 63) against heterologous HIV-1 variants and the quasispecies present in the mother. HIV-exposed uninfected infants (HEU) (n = 42), compared to those that eventually acquired infection (n = 21), did not possess higher nAb responses against heterologous envelopes (P = 0.46) or their mothers' variants (P = 0.45). Transmitting compared to nontransmitting mothers, however, had significantly higher plasma neutralizing activity against heterologous envelopes (P = 0.03), although these two groups did not have significant differences in their ability to neutralize autologous strains (P = 0.39). Furthermore, infants born to mothers with greater neutralizing breadth and potency were significantly more likely to have a serious adverse event (P = 0.03). These results imply that preexisting anti-HIV-1 neutralizing activity does not prevent breast milk transmission. Additionally, high maternal neutralizing breadth and potency may adversely influence both the frequency of breast milk transmission and subsequent infant morbidity.IMPORTANCE Passive immunization trials are under way to understand if preexisting antibodies can decrease mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission and improve infant outcomes. We examined the influence of preexisting maternal and infant neutralizing activity on transmission and infant morbidity in a breastfeeding mother-infant cohort. Neutralization was examined against both the exposure strains circulating in the infected mothers and a standardized reference panel previously used to estimate breadth. HIV-exposed uninfected infants did not possess a broader and more potent response against both the exposure and heterologous strains compared to infants that acquired infection. Transmitting, compared to nontransmitting, mothers had significantly higher neutralization breadth and potency but similar responses against autologous variants. Infants born to mothers with higher neutralization responses were more likely to have a serious adverse event. Our results suggest that preexisting antibodies do not protect against breast milk HIV-1 acquisition and may have negative consequences for the baby.

Update: Interim Guidance for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women with Possible Zika Virus Exposure - United States (Including U.S. Territories), July 2017.

CDC has updated the interim guidance for U.S. health care providers caring for pregnant women with possible Zika virus exposure in response to 1) declining prevalence of Zika virus disease in the World Health Organization's Region of the Americas (Americas) and 2) emerging evidence indicating prolonged detection of Zika virus immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies. Zika virus cases were first reported in the Americas during 2015-2016; however, the incidence of Zika virus disease has since declined. As the prevalence of Zika virus disease declines, the likelihood of false-positive test results increases. In addition, emerging epidemiologic and laboratory data indicate that, as is the case with other flaviviruses, Zika virus IgM antibodies can persist beyond 12 weeks after infection. Therefore, IgM test results cannot always reliably distinguish between an infection that occurred during the current pregnancy and one that occurred before the current pregnancy, particularly for women with possible Zika virus exposure before the current pregnancy. These limitations should be considered when counseling pregnant women about the risks and benefits of testing for Zika virus infection during pregnancy. This updated guidance emphasizes a shared decision-making model for testing and screening pregnant women, one in which patients and providers work together to make decisions about testing and care plans based on patient preferences and values, clinical judgment, and a balanced assessment of risks and expected outcomes.

Evaluation of Placental and Fetal Tissue Specimens for Zika Virus Infection - 50 States and District of Columbia, January-December, 2016.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause congenital microcephaly and brain abnormalities (1), and detection of Zika virus RNA in clinical and tissue specimens can provide definitive laboratory evidence of recent Zika virus infection. Whereas duration of viremia is typically short, prolonged detection of Zika virus RNA in placental, fetal, and neonatal brain tissue has been reported and can provide key diagnostic information by confirming recent Zika virus infection (2). In accordance with recent guidance (3,4), CDC provides Zika virus testing of placental and fetal tissues in clinical situations where this information could add diagnostic value. This report describes the evaluation of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue specimens tested for Zika virus infection in 2016 and the contribution of this testing to the public health response. Among 546 live births with possible maternal Zika virus exposure, for which placental tissues were submitted by the 50 states and District of Columbia (DC), 60 (11%) were positive by Zika virus reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Among 81 pregnancy losses for which placental and/or fetal tissues were submitted, 18 (22%) were positive by Zika virus RT-PCR. Zika virus RT-PCR was positive on placental tissues from 38/363 (10%) live births with maternal serologic evidence of recent unspecified flavivirus infection and from 9/86 (10%) with negative maternal Zika virus immunoglobulin M (IgM) where possible maternal exposure occurred >12 weeks before serum collection. These results demonstrate that Zika virus RT-PCR testing of tissue specimens can provide a confirmed diagnosis of recent maternal Zika virus infection.

Trends in Diagnoses Among Hospitalizations of HIV-infected Children and Adolescents in the United States: 2003-2012.

Using data from 2003-2012, we updated a previous analysis of trends in hospitalizations of HIV-infected children and adolescents in the United States.

Pregnancy Outcomes After Maternal Zika Virus Infection During Pregnancy - U.S. Territories, January 1, 2016-April 25, 2017.

Pregnant women living in or traveling to areas with local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission are at risk for Zika virus infection, which can lead to severe fetal and infant brain abnormalities and microcephaly (1). In February 2016, CDC recommended 1) routine testing for Zika virus infection of asymptomatic pregnant women living in areas with ongoing local Zika virus transmission at the first prenatal care visit, 2) retesting during the second trimester for women who initially test negative, and 3) testing of pregnant women with signs or symptoms consistent with Zika virus disease (e.g., fever, rash, arthralgia, or conjunctivitis) at any time during pregnancy (2). To collect information about pregnant women with laboratory evidence of recent possible Zika virus infection* and outcomes in their fetuses and infants, CDC established pregnancy and infant registries (3). During January 1, 2016-April 25, 2017, U.S. territories† with local transmission of Zika virus reported 2,549 completed pregnancies§ (live births and pregnancy losses at any gestational age) with laboratory evidence of recent possible Zika virus infection; 5% of fetuses or infants resulting from these pregnancies had birth defects potentially associated with Zika virus infection¶ (4,5). Among completed pregnancies with positive nucleic acid tests confirming Zika infection identified in the first, second, and third trimesters, the percentage of fetuses or infants with possible Zika-associated birth defects was 8%, 5%, and 4%, respectively. Among liveborn infants, 59% had Zika laboratory testing results reported to the pregnancy and infant registries. Identification and follow-up of infants born to women with laboratory evidence of recent possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy permits timely and appropriate clinical intervention services (6).

Measures Taken to Prevent Zika Virus Infection During Pregnancy - Puerto Rico, 2016.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy remains a serious health threat in Puerto Rico. Infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly, brain abnormalities, and other severe birth defects (1). From January 1, 2016 through March 29, 2017, Puerto Rico reported approximately 3,300 pregnant women with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection (2). There is currently no vaccine or intervention to prevent the adverse effects of Zika virus infection during pregnancy; therefore, prevention has been the focus of public health activities, especially for pregnant women (3). CDC and the Puerto Rico Department of Health analyzed data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System Zika Postpartum Emergency Response (PRAMS-ZPER) survey conducted from August through December 2016 among Puerto Rico residents with a live birth. Most women (98.1%) reported using at least one measure to avoid mosquitos in their home environment. However, only 45.8% of women reported wearing mosquito repellent daily, and 11.5% reported wearing pants and shirts with long sleeves daily. Approximately one third (38.5%) reported abstaining from sex or using condoms consistently throughout pregnancy. Overall, 76.9% of women reported having been tested for Zika virus by their health care provider during the first or second trimester of pregnancy. These results can be used to assess and refine Zika virus infection prevention messaging and interventions for pregnant women and to reinforce measures to promote prenatal testing for Zika.

Maternal Humoral Immune Correlates of Peripartum Transmission of Clade C HIV-1 in the Setting of Peripartum Antiretrovirals.

Despite the widespread use of antiretrovirals (ARV), more than 150,000 pediatric HIV-1 infections continue to occur annually. Supplemental strategies are necessary to eliminate pediatric HIV infections. We previously reported that maternal HIV envelope-specific anti-V3 IgG and CD4 binding site-directed antibodies, as well as tier 1 virus neutralization, predicted a reduced risk of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1 in the pre-ARV era U.S.-based Women and Infants Transmission Study (WITS) cohort. As the majority of ongoing pediatric HIV infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa, we sought to determine if the same maternal humoral immune correlates predicted MTCT in a subset of the Malawian Breastfeeding, Antiretrovirals, and Nutrition (BAN) cohort of HIV-infected mothers (n = 88, with 45 transmitting and 43 nontransmitting). Women and infants received ARV at delivery; thus, the majority of MTCT was in utero (91%). In a multivariable logistic regression model, neither maternal anti-V3 IgG nor clade C tier 1 virus neutralization was associated with MTCT. Unexpectedly, maternal CD4 binding-site antibodies and anti-variable loop 1 and 2 (V1V2) IgG were associated with increased MTCT, independent of maternal viral load. Neither infant envelope (Env)-specific IgG levels nor maternal IgG transplacental transfer efficiency was associated with transmission. Distinct humoral immune correlates of MTCT in the BAN and WITS cohorts could be due to differences between transmission modes, virus clades, or maternal antiretroviral use. The association between specific maternal antibody responses and in utero transmission, which is distinct from potentially protective maternal antibodies in the WITS cohort, underlines the importance of investigating additional cohorts with well-defined transmission modes to understand the role of antibodies during HIV-1 MTCT.

Preparing for biological threats: Addressing the needs of pregnant women.

Intentional release of infectious agents and biological weapons to cause illness and death has the potential to greatly impact pregnant women and their fetuses. We review what is known about the maternal and fetal effects of seven biological threats: Bacillus anthracis (anthrax); variola virus (smallpox); Clostridium botulinum toxin (botulism); Burkholderia mallei (glanders) and Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis); Yersinia pestis (plague); Francisella tularensis (tularemia); and Rickettsia prowazekii (typhus). Evaluating the potential maternal, fetal, and infant consequences of an intentional release of an infectious agent requires an assessment of several key issues: (1) are pregnant women more susceptible to infection or illness compared to the general population?; (2) are pregnant women at increased risk for severe illness, morbidity, and mortality compared to the general population?; (3) does infection or illness during pregnancy place women, the fetus, or the infant at increased risk for adverse outcomes and how does this affect clinical management?; and (4) are the medical countermeasures recommended for the general population safe and effective during pregnancy? These issues help frame national guidance for the care of pregnant women during an intentional release of a biological threat. Birth Defects Research 109:391-398, 2017.© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Vital Signs: Update on Zika Virus-Associated Birth Defects and Evaluation of All U.S. Infants with Congenital Zika Virus Exposure - U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, 2016.

In collaboration with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments, CDC established the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry (USZPR) in early 2016 to monitor pregnant women with laboratory evidence of possible recent Zika virus infection and their infants.

Maternal and neonatal outcomes among women with HIV infection and their infants in Malawi.

To describe maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality among women with HIV infection and their infants.

Baseline Prevalence of Birth Defects Associated with Congenital Zika Virus Infection - Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, 2013-2014.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious brain abnormalities, but the full range of adverse outcomes is unknown (1). To better understand the impact of birth defects resulting from Zika virus infection, the CDC surveillance case definition established in 2016 for birth defects potentially related to Zika virus infection* (2) was retrospectively applied to population-based birth defects surveillance data collected during 2013-2014 in three areas before the introduction of Zika virus (the pre-Zika years) into the World Health Organization's Region of the Americas (Americas) (3). These data, from Massachusetts (2013), North Carolina (2013), and Atlanta, Georgia (2013-2014), included 747 infants and fetuses with one or more of the birth defects meeting the case definition (pre-Zika prevalence = 2.86 per 1,000 live births). Brain abnormalities or microcephaly were the most frequently recorded (1.50 per 1,000), followed by neural tube defects and other early brain malformations† (0.88), eye abnormalities without mention of a brain abnormality (0.31), and other consequences of central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction without mention of brain or eye abnormalities (0.17). During January 15-September 22, 2016, the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry (USZPR) reported 26 infants and fetuses with these same defects among 442 completed pregnancies (58.8 per 1,000) born to mothers with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy (2). Although the ascertainment methods differed, this finding was approximately 20 times higher than the proportion of one or more of the same birth defects among pregnancies during the pre-Zika years. These data demonstrate the importance of population-based surveillance for interpreting data about birth defects potentially related to Zika virus infection.

Birth Defects Among Fetuses and Infants of US Women With Evidence of Possible Zika Virus Infection During Pregnancy.

Understanding the risk of birth defects associated with Zika virus infection during pregnancy may help guide communication, prevention, and planning efforts. In the absence of Zika virus, microcephaly occurs in approximately 7 per 10 000 live births.

Maternal and Breastmilk Viral Load: Impacts of Adherence on Peripartum HIV Infections Averted-The Breastfeeding, Antiretrovirals, and Nutrition Study.

Antiretroviral (ARV) interventions are used to reduce HIV viral replication and prevent mother-to-child transmission. Viral suppression relies on adherence to ARVs.

A randomized clinical trial on the effects of progestin contraception in the genital tract of HIV-infected and uninfected women in Lilongwe, Malawi: Addressing evolving research priorities.

Hormonal contraception is central in the prevention of unintended pregnancy; however there are concerns that certain methods may increase the risk of HIV acquisition and transmission. Hormonal contraceptives may modify the genital mucosa in several ways, however the mechanisms are incompletely understood. Few studies have examined genital HIV shedding prospectively before and after initiation of hormonal contraception. The effects of hormonal contraception on genital HIV shedding in the setting of antiretroviral therapy (ART) are also unknown. We designed a pilot clinical trial in which HIV-infected and uninfected women were randomized to either depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) injectable or levonorgestrel (LNG) implant in Lilongwe, Malawi. The objectives were to: 1) assess the effect and compare the impact of type of progestin contraception (injectable versus implant) on HIV genital shedding among HIV-infected women, 2) assess the effect and compare the impact of type of progestin contraception on inflammatory/immune markers in the genital tract of both HIV-infected and uninfected women, and 3) assess the interaction of progestin contraception and ART by examining contraceptive efficacy and ART efficacy. An additional study aim was to determine the feasibility and need for a larger study of determinants of HIV transmissibility and acquisition. As injectable contraception is widely used in many parts of the world with high HIV prevalence, this study will provide important information in determining the need for and feasibility of a larger study to address these questions that can impact the lives of millions of women living with or at risk for HIV.

CDC Online Course: Reproductive Health in Emergency Preparedness and Response.

In an emergency, the needs of women of reproductive age, particularly pregnant and postpartum women, introduce unique challenges for public health and clinical care. Incorporating reproductive health issues and considerations into emergency preparedness and response is a relatively new field. In recent years, several resources and tools specific to reproductive health have been developed. However, there is still a need for training about the effects of emergencies on women of reproductive age. In an effort to train medical and public health professionals about these topics, the CDC Division of Reproductive Health developed Reproductive Health in Emergency Preparedness and Response, an online course that is available across the United States.

Estimating the Number of Pregnant Women Infected With Zika Virus and Expected Infants With Microcephaly Following the Zika Virus Outbreak in Puerto Rico, 2016.

Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy is a cause of congenital microcephaly and severe fetal brain defects, and it has been associated with other adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes.

Full-Term Small-for-Gestational-Age Newborns in the U.S.: Characteristics, Trends, and Morbidity.

Objectives The magnitude, characteristics, and morbidity of term (≥37 weeks gestation) newborns that are small-for-gestational-age (SGA) in the U.S. are underexplored. We sought to examine characteristics and trends for SGA-coded term newborns in the U.S. Methods Data were obtained from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a nationally representative database of hospital stays in the U.S. from 2002 to 2011. Term, singleton newborns with SGA codes were identified and examined over the study period. Demographic characteristics were compared for term newborns according to presence of SGA codes using χ2 tests. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated to compare morbidities between the two groups, adjusting for relevant demographic and clinical variables. Results In 2011, 15 per 1000 term newborns in the U.S. were coded as SGA, a 29.9 % increase since 2002. Compared with other term newborns, SGA term newborns were significantly (p < 0.05) more likely to be female, receive public insurance, and reside in lower income zip codes. Comorbidities, including perinatal complications, metabolic disorders, central nervous system diseases, infection, and neonatal abstinence syndrome were more common among SGA-coded term newborns. These newborns also had higher odds of in-hospital death (OR = 3.0 95 % confidence interval: 2.0, 4.4), longer mean length of stay (3.7 vs. 2.3 days, p < 0.001), and higher mean hospital charges ($12,621 vs. $5012, p < 0.001). Conclusions for practice Term newborns coded as SGA have higher morbidity, mortality, and incur higher hospital charges than other term newborns. More research is needed to understand causes of SGA so its incidence and effects can be reduced.

Contraceptive Use Among Nonpregnant and Postpartum Women at Risk for Unintended Pregnancy, and Female High School Students, in the Context of Zika Preparedness - United States, 2011-2013 and 2015.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause congenital microcephaly and brain abnormalities (1,2). Since 2015, Zika virus has been spreading through much of the World Health Organization's Region of the Americas, including U.S. territories. Zika virus is spread through the bite of Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, by sex with an infected partner, or from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy.* CDC estimates that 41 states are in the potential range of Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes (3), and on July 29, 2016, the Florida Department of Health identified an area in one neighborhood of Miami where Zika virus infections in multiple persons are being spread by bites of local mosquitoes. These are the first known cases of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental United States.(†) CDC prevention efforts include mosquito surveillance and control, targeted education about Zika virus and condom use to prevent sexual transmission, and guidance for providers on contraceptive counseling to reduce unintended pregnancy. To estimate the prevalence of contraceptive use among nonpregnant and postpartum women at risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually active female high school students living in the 41 states where mosquito-borne transmission might be possible, CDC used 2011-2013 and 2015 survey data from four state-based surveillance systems: the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS, 2011-2013), which surveys adult women; the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS, 2013) and the Maternal and Infant Health Assessment (MIHA, 2013), which surveys women with a recent live birth; and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS, 2015), which surveys students in grades 9-12. CDC defines an unintended pregnancy as one that is either unwanted (i.e., the pregnancy occurred when no children, or no more children, were desired) or mistimed (i.e., the pregnancy occurred earlier than desired). The proportion of women at risk for unintended pregnancy who used a highly effective reversible method, known as long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), ranged from 5.5% to 18.9% for BRFSS-surveyed women and 6.9% to 30.5% for PRAMS/MIHA-surveyed women. The proportion of women not using any contraception ranged from 12.3% to 34.3% (BRFSS) and from 3.5% to 15.3% (PRAMS/MIHA). YRBS data indicated that among sexually active female high school students, use of LARC at last intercourse ranged from 1.7% to 8.4%, and use of no contraception ranged from 7.3% to 22.8%. In the context of Zika preparedness, the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including LARC, should be readily available and accessible for women who want to avoid or delay pregnancy. Given low rates of LARC use, states can implement strategies to remove barriers to the access and availability of LARC including high device costs, limited provider reimbursement, lack of training for providers serving women and adolescents on insertion and removal of LARC, provider lack of knowledge and misperceptions about LARC, limited availability of youth-friendly services that address adolescent confidentiality concerns, inadequate client-centered counseling, and low consumer awareness of the range of contraceptive methods available.

Trends in hospitalizations of pregnant HIV-infected women in the United States: 2004 through 2011.

With the development and widespread use of combination antiretroviral therapy, HIV-infected women live longer, healthier lives. Previous research has shown that, since the adoption of combination antiretroviral therapy in the United States, rates of morbidity and adverse obstetric outcomes remained higher for HIV-infected pregnant women compared with HIV-uninfected pregnant women. Monitoring trends in the outcomes these women experience is essential, as recommendations for this special population continue to evolve with the progress of HIV treatment and prevention options.

Update: Interim Guidance for Health Care Providers Caring for Women of Reproductive Age with Possible Zika Virus Exposure--United States, 2016.

CDC has updated its interim guidance for U.S. health care providers caring for women of reproductive age with possible Zika virus exposure to include recommendations on counseling women and men with possible Zika virus exposure who are interested in conceiving. This guidance is based on limited available data on persistence of Zika virus RNA in blood and semen. Women who have Zika virus disease should wait at least 8 weeks after symptom onset to attempt conception, and men with Zika virus disease should wait at least 6 months after symptom onset to attempt conception. Women and men with possible exposure to Zika virus but without clinical illness consistent with Zika virus disease should wait at least 8 weeks after exposure to attempt conception. Possible exposure to Zika virus is defined as travel to or residence in an area of active Zika virus transmission (, or sex (vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or fellatio) without a condom with a man who traveled to or resided in an area of active transmission. Women and men who reside in areas of active Zika virus transmission should talk with their health care provider about attempting conception. This guidance also provides updated recommendations on testing of pregnant women with possible Zika virus exposure. These recommendations will be updated when additional data become available.

Zika Virus Infection Among U.S. Pregnant Travelers - August 2015-February 2016.

After reports of microcephaly and other adverse pregnancy outcomes in infants of mothers infected with Zika virus during pregnancy, CDC issued a travel alert on January 15, 2016, advising pregnant women to consider postponing travel to areas with active transmission of Zika virus. On January 19, CDC released interim guidelines for U.S. health care providers caring for pregnant women with travel to an affected area, and an update was released on February 5. As of February 17, CDC had received reports of nine pregnant travelers with laboratory-confirmed Zika virus disease; 10 additional reports of Zika virus disease among pregnant women are currently under investigation. No Zika virus-related hospitalizations or deaths among pregnant women were reported. Pregnancy outcomes among the nine confirmed cases included two early pregnancy losses, two elective terminations, and three live births (two apparently healthy infants and one infant with severe microcephaly); two pregnancies (approximately 18 weeks' and 34 weeks' gestation) are continuing without known complications. Confirmed cases of Zika virus infection were reported among women who had traveled to one or more of the following nine areas with ongoing local transmission of Zika virus: American Samoa, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Samoa. This report summarizes findings from the nine women with confirmed Zika virus infection during pregnancy, including case reports for four women with various clinical outcomes. U.S. health care providers caring for pregnant women with possible Zika virus exposure during pregnancy should follow CDC guidelines for patient evaluation and management. Zika virus disease is a nationally notifiable condition. CDC has developed a voluntary registry to collect information about U.S. pregnant women with confirmed Zika virus infection and their infants. Information about the registry is in preparation and will be available on the CDC website.

Zika Virus and Pregnancy: What Obstetric Health Care Providers Need to Know.

Zika virus is a flavivirus transmitted by Aedes (Stegomyia) species of mosquitoes. In May 2015, the World Health Organization confirmed the first local transmission of Zika virus in the Americas in Brazil. The virus has spread rapidly to other countries in the Americas; as of January 29, 2016, local transmission has been detected in at least 22 countries or territories, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Zika virus can infect pregnant women in all three trimesters. Although pregnant women do not appear to be more susceptible to or more severely affected by Zika virus infection, maternal-fetal transmission has been documented. Several pieces of evidence suggest that maternal Zika virus infection is associated with adverse neonatal outcomes, most notably microcephaly. Because of the number of countries and territories with local Zika virus transmission, it is likely that obstetric health care providers will care for pregnant women who live in or have traveled to an area of local Zika virus transmission. We review information on Zika virus, its clinical presentation, modes of transmission, laboratory testing, effects during pregnancy, and methods of prevention to assist obstetric health care providers in caring for pregnant women considering travel or with a history of travel to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission and pregnant women residing in areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission.

Thiamin and Riboflavin in Human Milk: Effects of Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplementation and Stage of Lactation on Vitamer Secretion and Contributions to Total Vitamin Content.

While thiamin and riboflavin in breast milk have been analyzed for over 50 years, less attention has been given to the different forms of each vitamin. Thiamin-monophosphate (TMP) and free thiamin contribute to total thiamin content; flavin adenine-dinucleotide (FAD) and free riboflavin are the main contributors to total riboflavin. We analyzed milk collected at 2 (n = 258) or 6 (n = 104), and 24 weeks (n = 362) from HIV-infected Malawian mothers within the Breastfeeding, Antiretrovirals and Nutrition (BAN) study, randomly assigned at delivery to lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) or a control group, to investigate each vitamer's contribution to total milk vitamin content and the effects of supplementation on the different thiamin and riboflavin vitamers at early and later stages of lactation, and obtain insight into the transport and distribution of these vitamers in human milk. Thiamin vitamers were derivatized into thiochrome-esters and analyzed by high-performance liquid-chromatography-fluorescence-detection (HPLC-FLD). Riboflavin and FAD were analyzed by ultra-performance liquid-chromatography-tandem-mass-spectrometry (ULPC-MS/MS). Thiamin-pyrophosphate (TPP), identified here for the first time in breast milk, contributed 1.9-4.5% to total thiamin. Free thiamin increased significantly from 2/6 to 24 weeks regardless of treatment indicating an active transport of this vitamer in milk. LNS significantly increased TMP and free thiamin only at 2 weeks compared to the control: median 170 versus 151 μg/L (TMP), 13.3 versus 10.5 μg/L (free thiamin, p<0.05 for both, suggesting an up-regulated active mechanism for TMP and free thiamin accumulation at early stages of lactation. Free riboflavin was consistently and significantly increased with LNS (range: 14.8-19.6 μg/L (LNS) versus 5.0-7.4 μg/L (control), p<0.001), shifting FAD:riboflavin relative amounts from 92-94:6-8% to 85:15%, indicating a preferred secretion of the free form into breast milk. The continuous presence of FAD in breast milk suggests an active transport and secretion system for this vitamer or possibly formation of this co-enymatic form in the mammary gland.

Update: Interim Guidelines for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women and Women of Reproductive Age with Possible Zika Virus Exposure - United States, 2016.

CDC has updated its interim guidelines for U.S. health care providers caring for pregnant women during a Zika virus outbreak (1). Updated guidelines include a new recommendation to offer serologic testing to asymptomatic pregnant women (women who do not report clinical illness consistent with Zika virus disease) who have traveled to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission. Testing can be offered 2-12 weeks after pregnant women return from travel. This update also expands guidance to women who reside in areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission, and includes recommendations for screening, testing, and management of pregnant women and recommendations for counseling women of reproductive age (15-44 years). Pregnant women who reside in areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission have an ongoing risk for infection throughout their pregnancy. For pregnant women with clinical illness consistent with Zika virus disease,* testing is recommended during the first week of illness. For asymptomatic pregnant women residing in areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission, testing is recommended at the initiation of prenatal care with follow-up testing mid-second trimester. Local health officials should determine when to implement testing of asymptomatic pregnant women based on information about levels of Zika virus transmission and laboratory capacity. Health care providers should discuss reproductive life plans, including pregnancy intention and timing, with women of reproductive age in the context of the potential risks associated with Zika virus infection.

Interim Guidelines for Pregnant Women During a Zika Virus Outbreak--United States, 2016.

CDC has developed interim guidelines for health care providers in the United States caring for pregnant women during a Zika virus outbreak. These guidelines include recommendations for pregnant women considering travel to an area with Zika virus transmission and recommendations for screening, testing, and management of pregnant returning travelers. Updates on areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission are available online ( Health care providers should ask all pregnant women about recent travel. Pregnant women with a history of travel to an area with Zika virus transmission and who report two or more symptoms consistent with Zika virus disease (acute onset of fever, maculopapular rash, arthralgia, or conjunctivitis) during or within 2 weeks of travel, or who have ultrasound findings of fetal microcephaly or intracranial calcifications, should be tested for Zika virus infection in consultation with their state or local health department. Testing is not indicated for women without a travel history to an area with Zika virus transmission. In pregnant women with laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection, serial ultrasound examination should be considered to monitor fetal growth and anatomy and referral to a maternal-fetal medicine or infectious disease specialist with expertise in pregnancy management is recommended. There is no specific antiviral treatment for Zika virus; supportive care is recommended.

Cytomegalovirus Infection in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-Exposed and HIV-Infected Infants: A Systematic Review.

Cytomegalovirus is highly prevalent worldwide and an important opportunistic pathogen in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals. The effects of cytomegalovirus infection on HIV-exposed infants are poorly understood. We conducted a systematic review to assess the relationship between cytomegalovirus and HIV infections among HIV-exposed infants. Limited evidence suggests that HIV-induced immunosuppression in the mother increases the rate of congenital cytomegalovirus infection, while maternal antiretroviral therapy may reduce it. Limited information exists on the direction of the relationship between cytomegalovirus and HIV transmission among HIV-exposed infants. Only 2 studies have addressed this temporal sequence of events, and they suggest that cytomegalovirus can lead to subsequent HIV infection in HIV-exposed infants. Most evidence suggests that early cytomegalovirus infection accelerates HIV disease progression in infants. Gaps remain in understanding the role that cytomegalovirus infection plays in HIV-exposed infants. Decreasing cytomegalovirus transmission prenatally and in infancy might further decrease HIV transmission and lead to better health among HIV-exposed infants.

Cytomegalovirus IgG Level and Avidity in Breastfeeding Infants of HIV-Infected Mothers in Malawi.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is common among infants of HIV-infected mothers in resource-limited settings. We examined the prevalence and timing of infant CMV infection during the first year of life using IgG antibody and avidity among HIV-exposed infants in Malawi and correlated the results with the presence of detectable CMV DNA in the blood. The Breastfeeding, Antiretrovirals and Nutrition (BAN) study randomized 2,369 mothers and their infants to maternal antiretrovirals, infant nevirapine, or neither for 28 weeks of breastfeeding, followed by weaning. Stored plasma specimens were tested for CMV IgG and antibody avidity from a random subset of infants who had been previously tested with blood CMV PCR and had available specimens at birth and at 24 and 48 weeks of age. Ninety-four of 127 infants (74.0%) tested at 24 weeks of age had CMV IgG of low or intermediate avidity, signifying primary CMV infections. An additional 22 infants (17.3%) had IgG of high avidity; 19 of them had CMV DNA detected in their blood, indicating infant infections. Taken together, these results show that the estimated prevalence of CMV infection at 24 weeks was 88.9%. By 48 weeks of age, 81.3% of infants had anti-CMV IgG; most of them (70.9%) had IgG of high avidity. The CMV serology and avidity testing, combined with the PCR results, confirmed a high rate of primary CMV infection by 6 months of life among breastfeeding infants of HIV-infected mothers. The CMV PCR in blood detected most, but not all, infant CMV infections.

Association of HIV-1 Envelope-Specific Breast Milk IgA Responses with Reduced Risk of Postnatal Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV-1.

Infants born to HIV-1-infected mothers in resource-limited areas where replacement feeding is unsafe and impractical are repeatedly exposed to HIV-1 throughout breastfeeding. Despite this, the majority of infants do not contract HIV-1 postnatally, even in the absence of maternal antiretroviral therapy. This suggests that immune factors in breast milk of HIV-1-infected mothers help to limit vertical transmission. We compared the HIV-1 envelope-specific breast milk and plasma antibody responses of clade C HIV-1-infected postnatally transmitting and nontransmitting mothers in the control arm of the Malawi-based Breastfeeding Antiretrovirals and Nutrition Study using multivariable logistic regression modeling. We found no association between milk or plasma neutralization activity, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, or HIV-1 envelope-specific IgG responses and postnatal transmission risk. While the envelope-specific breast milk and plasma IgA responses also did not reach significance in predicting postnatal transmission risk in the primary model after correction for multiple comparisons, subsequent exploratory analysis using two distinct assay methodologies demonstrated that the magnitudes of breast milk total and secretory IgA responses against a consensus HIV-1 envelope gp140 (B.con env03) were associated with reduced postnatal transmission risk. These results suggest a protective role for mucosal HIV-1 envelope-specific IgA responses in the context of postnatal virus transmission. This finding supports further investigations into the mechanisms by which mucosal IgA reduces risk of HIV-1 transmission via breast milk and into immune interventions aimed at enhancing this response.