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Pregnant Women infected with Zika Virus has doubled in US

The latest numbers represent a significant increase from last week, when the CDC reported 113 women in all U.S. states and D.C. and 65 in U.S. territories.

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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media after receiving a briefing on the ongoing response to the Zika virus from members of his public health team, Friday, May 20, 2016, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. Credit VOA

Federal health officials say the number of women in the United States with the Zika virus has more than doubled, due to a change in the way the cases are counted.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported Friday there are now 157 women infected with the virus in 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia and 122 cases in U.S. territories – mostly in Puerto Rico.

The latest numbers represent a significant increase from last week, when the CDC reported 113 women in all U.S. states and D.C. and 65 in U.S. territories.

Officials are now counting all pregnant women who test positive in the U.S. and its territories, whether or not they show symptoms. Previously, only pregnant women who had positive blood tests and Zika symptoms were counted.

The CDC said it changed its counting method out of concern that one type of blood test could produce false positive results if women were infected with a similar virus.

U.S. health experts have determined that the mosquito-borne virus can cause microcephaly, a birth defect that can result in severe brain abnormalities and developmental problems in babies.

The CDC said it dramatically ramped up its capacity to test for the Zika virus in preparation for the summer mosquito season.

This is the first time the agency had disclosed the number of infected pregnant women in the U.S. and and its territories.

In Washington, President Barack Obama received a briefing on Zika from members of his public health team.

Molecular evolution of Zika Virus during its emergence in 20th century. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Molecular evolution of Zika Virus during its emergence in 20th century. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

“We don’t know all of the potential effects; we do know they are serious. Right now what we have seen is a little over 500 cases of Zika in the continental United States and they all appear to be travel-related, not mosquito transmitted,” Obama said.

He also urged Congress to pass a bill to increase emergency funding to tackle Zika.

“Congress needs to get me a bill. It needs to get me a bill that has the sufficient funds to get me a job,” Obama said, adding that Zika ” is not something where we can build a wall to prevent—mosquitoes don’t go through customs.” (VOA)

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LG Electronics to Launch V50 ThinQ 5G Smartphone in US

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LG logo, wikimedia

LG Electronics Inc. has said it plans to release the company’s V50 ThinQ in the US this week with Verizon, its second American telecom partner for the 5G smartphone.

The V50 arrived in the US market last month to become Sprint’s first 5G phone and will go on sale under Verizon’s mobile plan starting on Thursday, according to the Korean electronics firm.

The V50 uses US tech giant Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 chipset and its X50 5G modem, Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday.

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LG’s first 5G smartphone received a positive response in South Korea, selling about 260,000 units in the first month since its launch on May 10, according to the company.

LG’s 5G push comes as it has been stepping up efforts to expand the company’s market share in the US, which stood at 15 per cent last year. (IANS)