Space & Innovation

First Baby Born in New Jersey With Zika Virus

The infant girl is the first in the Tri-State area to be born with microcephaly.

<h2>File photo shows an Aedes aegypti mosquito inside a test tube./Credit: Reuters</h2>

A baby with a Zika-linked birth defect was born Tuesday in a New Jersey hospital, the first such case in the New York City tri-state area, officials at Hackensack University Medical Center said.

The mother, 31, had been visiting the area from Honduras, where she had contracted the disease. The baby girl was born at 36 weeks and was diagnosed with microcephaly, a neurological condition associated with an abnormally small head and lifelong disabilities. The infant also showed signs of intestinal and visual issues, according to FoxNews.com.

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The 31-year-old mother, who was not identified, had showed no symptoms in Honduras other than a rash, FoxNews.com reported. However, the mother was admitted to the hospital's high-risk unit when doctors saw her on Friday and noticed the baby wasn't developing normally.

By itself, Zika is no more threatening than a bad cold or a mild case of the flu. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all. But the rapidly expanding virus - present in nearly four dozen countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) - is suspected to be the cause a sudden increase in cases of neonatal microcephaly, a severe deformation of the brain and skull among newborns.

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Zika is spread among humans by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is found in 130 nations. But recent evidence suggests that it can also be sexually transmitted by men carrying the virus.

This is believed to be the first birth of a child with Zika-linked complications in the tri-state area, but it's not the first such case in the United States. The CDC reports there have been 591 cases of Zika diagnosed in the United States -- all have been travel related.

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