RELEASE: Zika Virus Puts 2 Million Pregnant Women in the United States Potentially at Risk This Summer and Fall

Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress estimates that more than 2 million pregnant women in the United States are potentially at risk of Zika virus infection this summer and fall. In a new analysis using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, CAP estimates the number of pregnant women potentially at risk in states that are projected to have a moderate or high abundance of the Aedes species mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus.

CAP estimates that more the 491,000 pregnant women in Texas and more than 271,000 pregnant women in Florida are potentially at risk of exposure to the Zika virus through November. The estimated number of pregnant women potentially at risk will exceed 100,000 in Georgia, New Jersey, New York City, North Carolina, and Virginia.

pregnant women population

To be conservative in the estimates, CAP excluded months for a state when the potential mosquito abundance is only low to moderate throughout all areas of the state. As a result, estimates are not included for California, Arizona, and New Mexico—even though meteorological conditions may be suitable for local transmission in these states. Additionally, because New York City and Philadelphia are the only areas of their respective states that are within the CDC-estimated range of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the authors used CDC county-level birth data for these areas, rather than including data for the entire state.

“Many factors will affect the actual prevalence of Zika virus infection, but the only factor within government control is the extent of prevention and response,” said Topher Spiro, Vice President for Health Policy at CAP. “These measures require significant resources, and we call on Congress to swiftly approve the $1.9 billion in emergency supplemental funds requested by President Barack Obama in February.”

Earlier this week, CAP released a new paper outlining why plans to address Zika transmission must also include a comprehensive approach to meeting the reproductive and maternal health needs of women. Women living in areas where there is an increased risk for infection must be provided with comprehensive counseling and access to their contraceptive method of choice.

Read the full fact sheet, “The Population of Pregnant Women at Potential Risk of Zika Virus Infection” by Topher Spiro and Thomas Huelskoetter, and review the methodology online here.

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For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Liz Bartolomeo at or 202.481.8151.

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