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Baby born in U.S. to mom with Zika has birth defect

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    An Aedes aegypti mosquito as seen through a microscope at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil on Jan. 27. A New Jersey doctor said a woman from Honduras with the Zika virus gave birth to a baby, on May 31, that appears to be affected by the disease, which is spread primarily through mosquito bites and can also be transmitted through sex.

HACKENSACK, N.J. » A Honduran woman with the Zika virus gave birth in New Jersey to a baby girl with birth defects that appear to be caused by the mosquito-borne virus, one of her doctors said.

The woman delivered the baby through a cesarean section Tuesday at Hackensack University Medical Center, said Dr. Abdulla Al-Kahn, the hospital’s director of maternal-fetal medicine and surgery.

There have been more than 500 Zika cases in the U.S., all involving people who were infected in outbreak areas in South America, Central America or the Caribbean or people who had sex with infected travelers. Mosquitoes aren’t yet spreading Zika in the continental U.S., but experts predict small outbreaks are possible as mosquito season heats up.

The 31-year-old mother was diagnosed with Zika in her native Honduras after lab results were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation of the virus, said Al-Kahn. She then came to New Jersey, where she has family, to seek further treatment, he said.

Al-Kahn said the mother had a normal ultrasound early in her pregnancy, and that another one last week showed birth defects, including microcephaly, in which the baby’s head is smaller than expected because the brain hasn’t developed properly.

The doctor said the baby looks “completely Zika affected,” and while further testing is required to confirm the virus, he’s “90 to 95 percent” sure it’s Zika.

“It was very sad for us to see a baby born with such a condition,” he said.

Al-Kahn said the prognosis for babies born with microcephaly, which also can signal underlying brain damage, is “generally very poor.”

The mother is “hanging in there” said Al-Kahn. “But of course what human being isn’t going to be devastated by this news?”

Earlier this year, the CDC reported that a baby born in a Hawaii hospital was the first in the United States with microcephaly linked to the Zika virus.

A total of 10 countries so far reported cases of microcephaly linked to Zika, which is spread primarily through mosquito bites and can also be transmitted through sex. With more than 1,400 reported cases, Brazil has the most, by far. The CDC has joined the World Health Organization in recommending that pregnant women avoid traveling to Zika-affected countries. If pregnant women get infected, there is no known treatment to prevent them from stopping transmission of the virus to their unborn babies.

While Al-Kahn described the New Jersey case as “absolutely devastating,” he said he hopes it will serve as an “awakening call” for the country to take strong measures to prevent the disease.

“It’s time for us to do something,” he said.

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  • Brazil which is one of the biggest hot spots of the virus is not doing enough to contain it. Yet they are still having the Olympics there. Now you have a potential world wide outbreak. Athletes from all over the world will be there. If it were up to me I’d cancel the Olympics.

    • South Korea is sending athletes with all kinds of protective gear. How good is it in warm climes where the mode is to sleep in the raw? Percentages gonna catch up with the odds. Change the venue??? Cost to Brazil, billions! The Games will go on. Liability if visitors are infected?

      • Addendum: world-wide spread of Zika is possible similar to the “Black Death”. Beside the many athletes participating in the Games, over 3 million visitors are expected to attend and vacation in Rio. Of that number certainly in the warm climes of the summer, majority will be dressed accordingly. Thus the exposure could be catastrophic and potential for spread magnified. Also the season favors the mosquitoes population explosion. Wonder if the Olympic committee members are considering the issue.

  • Hawaii has a “no waiting period, get free benefits to minute you step off the airplane” welfare/medicaid policy, so if the other states — and even other countries — are smart, they would send all of their zika-affected babies here. Problem solved!

  • Republican House members refused to fund zika research and prevention measures urgently requested by the CDC; instead, they went home.

  • According to the NACHC TeleForumm Winter 2016, states, There is also a possible link between the Zika virus and Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune response that damages the peripheral nervous system. Guillain Barre Syndrome is already here.

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