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A new study reports 24 of 250 pregnant women with a Zika infection had a fetus or baby with birth defects related to the virus in 2016, per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zika infection can cause damage to the brains of developing fetuses, ranging from microcephaly and brain abnormalities to vision or hearing problems after birth. The CDC monitored 1000 mothers, mostly exposed to the virus during travel to other countries, living in 44 different states between January 15 and December 27, 2016.

Why it matters: This study suggests that Zika birth defects in the U.S. are higher than anticipated and shows the problem is no longer confined to the southern U.S. The report also found just 1 in 4 babies born to mothers with possible infection received brain imaging after birth to help diagnose defects, underscoring the need for healthcare providers not only to educate patients about Zika prevention but to provide clinical care.

Go deeper

10 mins ago - World

Blinken makes unannounced trip to Afghanistan to sell troop withdrawal

Photo: CARLOS BARRIA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on Thursday to meet with the nation's president, Ashraf Ghani, and Abdullah Abdullah, who is representing the Taliban in negotiations, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Blinken sought to reassure the pair that the U.S. will maintain support for the country, despite President Biden's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan starting May 1 and concluding in full by Sept. 11.

Women rise to the top at major media companies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several women have been tapped to lead some of the country's largest newsrooms over the past year — a promising sign of progress for an industry that's typically been slow to accept change and embrace diversity.

Driving the news: CBS News executive Kimberly Godwin was named president of ABC News on Wednesday. Godwin will be the first Black woman to lead a major broadcast news division when she takes the helm in May.

Americans will likely have to navigate a maze of vaccine "passports"

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Many private businesses and some states are plowing ahead with methods of verifying that people have been vaccinated, despite conservative resistance to "vaccine passports."

Why it matters: Many businesses view some sort of vaccine verification system as key to getting back to normal. But in the absence of federal leadership, a confusing patchwork approach is likely to pop up.