Baby with Zika Birth Defects Delivered at NJ Hospital
A 31-year-old Honduran woman infected with the Zika virus gave birth to a baby Tuesday at Hackensack University medical center, according to reports.
The child, delivered at 3 p.m. by Cesarean-section, suffers the effects of the virus including low birth weight and severe microcephaly, causing the baby’s head to be smaller than normal, NorthJersey.com has reported. She was 35 weeks pregnant at the time of delivery, the article states.
Dr. Manny Alvarez, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Hackensack told the website that the woman - who was not identified - contracted Zika after being bitten by a mosquito in Honduras early in her pregnancy. Her mother, a microbiologist, sent a sample of the pregnant woman's blood to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who confirmed that she had tested positive for Zika, the report states.
Alvarez told NorthJersey.com that the woman has been in the United States for a month and has been in the hospital since Friday, at which time she underwent an ultrasound that showed the unborn child's deformities.
According to the CDC's website, there are currently 168 pregnant women in the United States and District of Columbia who have "laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection."
The CDC says the most common symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. The NorthJersey.com article states that the woman who gave birth in Hackensack did suffer a rash during the early stages of her pregnancy but didn't appear to have any other symptoms of the virus.
In general, the CDC says the illness caused by Zika is mild, and symptoms can last days or even a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
"People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika," the CDC says.
The virus is most dangerous to pregnant women, the federal agency states, since it can cause microcephaly, and various brain defects in infants.
Last week, the New Jersey Department of Health announced that laboratories located in West Trenton began testing blood samples for Zika and other mosquito-transmitted viruses. New Jersey is one of a few states with the capacity to test blood samples for the mosquito-borne Zika virus
Testing in New Jersey is being done for pregnant women who have recently traveled overseas. In addition, men who have returned from overseas and whose partners are thinking about becoming pregnant can be tested along with anyone who’s traveled abroad and is experiencing symptoms of the Zika virus.
All of the 16 Zika cases in New Jersey, are related to travel, health officials said.