First Baby Born With Zika Virus in U.S. Confirmed
Doctors at a Hackensack, New Jersey hospital have confirmed a baby was born with Zika virus-linked abnormalities.
According to reports, the mother contracted the Zika virus while on a trip to Honduras, but was admitted to the emergency room at Hackensack University Medical Center on Friday while on vacation in the United States. Doctors delivered the baby girl who they confirm has microcephaly, a condition where the child’s head forms abnormally and is smaller than expected. Doctors say the child also has intestinal and visual issues.
The case is the first reported microcephaly birth defect in the United States.
According to Fox News, the mother had developed a rash for two days in Honduras, but otherwise had no other symptoms before arriving in the U.S. last week.
Fox also reported that Honduran doctors noticed intracranial complications with the child during her pregnancy, but it was not until she was admitted to the hospital in Hackensack that doctors could confirm the microcephaly diagnosis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
“Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size. Microcephaly can be an isolated condition, meaning that it can occur with no other major birth defects, or it can occur in combination with other major birth defects.”
Other problems that may stem from microcephaly are seizures, developmental delays and intellectual disability, problems with movement and balance, feeding problems, hearing loss, and vision problems, the CDC reports.
The CDC and the World Health Organization recommend pregnant women avoid traveling to Zika-infected areas – such as Brazil. They also recommend families take extra precautions if they are planning to conceive after returning from Zika “hotspots.”
For adults, few symptoms can be present if they’ve contracted Zika, such as fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes), according to the CDC.