This infographic contains a correction.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 4,222 people have been diagnosed with the Zika virus in the United States and its territories to date and 649 of these people are pregnant women. Microcephaly—the most severe health issue linked to Zika thus far—is a serious and sometimes fatal birth defect that can afflict infants born to infected mothers.
The Center for American Progress recently released an issue brief demonstrating that more than 2 million pregnant women are potentially at risk of infection in areas of the United States—mainly in the South—that are most vulnerable to Zika. The number of women potentially at risk raises red flags about the potential for increased cases of microcephaly and other birth defects. This map shows that many of the states with hefty mosquito populations and poor access to contraception have not opted to expand Medicaid, leaving millions of women uninsured and unprepared. These factors thus severely compound the threat Zika poses to low-income women and women of color. If the nation hopes to curtail the spread of Zika and prevent future cases of microcephaly, it must center its attention on helping pregnant women and women of reproductive age—especially in low-income communities—feel empowered to determine if and when they get pregnant and attain the health services needed to protect themselves and their families from Zika. Furthermore, Congress must approve significant emergency funding to prepare for and combat the Zika virus at the federal, state, and local level.
Jamila Taylor is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Sabrina de Santiago is the Director of Government Affairs at the Center. Thomas Huelskoetter is the Research Associate for Health Policy at the Center.
**Correction, July 21, 2016: A column heading in this infographic has been corrected to more accurately represent the data it analyzes. The correct heading is “Women in need of contraceptive services and supplies.”