A baby girl with Zika virus born yesterday born at the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, is showing signs of the associated birth defects, such as low birth weight and microcephaly, which is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. This is the first confirmed case of these Zika-related birth defects in the continental U.S., although doctors claim her mother contracted the illness while in her native Honduras. She then traveled to the United States to visit relatives before giving birth.
While in Honduras, the baby’s mother had experienced a rash associated with Zika after being bitten by an infected mosquito early on in her pregnancy; since the woman’s mother is a microbiologist, she had blood samples sent to the CDC, where they tested positive for the virus.
While in the U.S., the mother went in for tests at the Hackensack University Medical Center, where her doctors discovered the baby was in distress. As a result, the baby was delivered via cesarean. Manny Alvarez, chairman of the hospital’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, stated:
“It tells you that Zika is real. I used to look at the billboards in my country about Zika, and I never realized it was going to be me.”
Technically, this is not the first child to be born with Zika in the United States, as a baby with Zika-related brain damage was born in Hawaii in January. Recently, the CDC announced that around 300 pregnant women in the U.S. have Zika virus, and some are symptomless.
In general, Zika has been far more prevalent in the Caribbean, Central and South American countries, although health officials still warn that New York City is in range of the mosquitoes known to transmit Zika. Because of this, NYC is using larvicides to target breeding grounds for mosquitos that could carry Zika .
So while we don’t want to fear monger, we do believe it is important to be aware of the health concerns happening around us as a way to take the proper precautions, which the CDC has given instructions about here.