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Zika Found in 3 Pregnant Floridians, Officials Say

(CN) - Three pregnant women in Florida have contracted the Zika virus, the state's health department said Wednesday.

Pregnant women are at particular risk from Zika due to the virus' suspected link with microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome, though connections to the disorders have not been proven.

"Several pregnant women who have traveled to countries with local transmission of Zika have received antibody testing and of those three have tested positive for a history of Zika virus infection," the department said.

Microcephaly is a congenial disorder that leads to reduced head size, brain damage and potential death. Five infant deaths in Brazil were connected to Zika and microcephaly, while 70 more are under investigation, according to CNN.

Guillain-Barre syndrom causes the immune system to attack the nervous system, leading to temporary paralysis or even death.

Significant questions surrounding the Zika virus remain unanswered, which has made combating the virus and treating infected patients difficult.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a research effort in Brazil on Monday to study pregnant women infected with Zika and determine whether the virus is directly connected to microcephaly. A similar study involving over 5,000 pregnant women is currently underway in Colombia.

Florida now has 32 confirmed cases of Zika, the most of any U.S. state. Each of the infections is reportedly the result of travel to an area with active Zika transmissions. Gov. Rick Scott has requested 250 additional antibody tests from the CDC in response to these new cases.

Health officials in the Sunshine State did not release information about where the women reside, citing privacy concerns.

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