Saturday 1 October 2016

First US case of baby born with Zika-related microcephaly

Harriet Alexander

Published 02/06/2016 | 02:30

Nine-month-old David Henrique Ferreira, who has microcephaly, tries on new glasses in Brazil (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Nine-month-old David Henrique Ferreira, who has microcephaly, tries on new glasses in Brazil (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A woman in New Jersey has become the first to give birth in the United States to a baby with microcephaly, a brain deformity that has been linked to the Zika virus.

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Doctors confirmed the news at Hackensack University Medical Center.

The woman had been in Honduras, and was on holiday in the US. Doctors in Honduras suspected intracranial complications with the unborn child, but it was not until she was admitted to the high-risk unit at the New Jersey hospital that doctors confirmed the microcephaly diagnosis.

The patient's aunt told Fox News that the mother is not doing well emotionally after the birth of her child.

America is bracing itself for a flurry of cases, as the warm weather brings Zika-transmitting mosquitoes to its shores.

The Center for Disease Control said that, as of May 19, there were 168 women in continental US who were pregnant and confirmed Zika sufferers. Almost 600 cases of Zika have been diagnosed in the US, but all sufferers had travelled to an infected country.

Yesterday the World Health Organisation (WHO) updated its advice to recommend that couples who have been in Zika-hit areas should wait at least eight weeks before trying to conceive, to ensure the virus has cleared their bodies.

Previously, the WHO had recommended a four-week minimum period.

And if the male partner in a couple planning pregnancy has symptoms of the Zika virus, the period of safe abstinence should be extended to six months.

"The new guidelines reflect what we have learned about Zika disease and its complications," said Christian Lindmeier, WHO spokesman.

Irish Independent

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