Leilani Dominicci has all the typical worries of pregnant women plus a new one spreading across Puerto Rico: the fear she will become infected with the Zika virus and put her baby at risk. Her unease has escalated so much that the 38-year-old attorney barely leaves her home in the capital of San Juan because of warnings the island faces an onslaught of the mosquito-borne illness.
As the virus sweeps through the hemisphere, Puerto Rico has become America’s own front line in the battle against it — home to 3.5 million U.S. citizens and with a tropical landscape that is an ideal breeding ground for the mosquito that spreads Zika, as well as the dengue and chikungunya already common here.
Officials have barred local blood donations, ramped up efforts to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito and are trying to monitor every pregnant woman on the island due to fears Zika might cause birth defects. The voluntary registry by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extends to all Zika-infected women and their babies throughout the United States. READ MORE