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Hawaii Baby Born With Zika And Microcephaly

Update Date: Jan 20, 2016 08:52 AM EST
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The first US case of an infant born with microcephaly linked to mosquito-borne Zika virus infection was documented at an Oahu hospital in Hawaii according to a report confirmed by American health authorities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suspected that the birth defect was likely due to a viral infection that the baby acquired while inside the mother's womb.

The mother reportedly fell ill with the virus during her stay in Brazil in May last year.

"The mother likely had Zika infection when she was residing in Brazil in May 2015 and her newborn acquired the infection in the womb. Neither the baby nor the mother was infectious, nor there was never a risk of transmission in Hawaii," said the State Health Department of Hawaii in an official statement as quoted by CNN.

Recently, a dramatic spike of mosquito-borne diseases has plagued the Latin American nation causing a widespread public alarm. As a response, Brazilian health officials delivered a stern warning to Brazilian couples to delay pregnancy as cases of infants born with damaged brains were reportedly caused by the mosquito-borne virus.

"There's no indication at this point that there's any Zika virus circulating in Hawaii. But I think it's important for us to understand that there are going to be imported cases of Zika to the United States, and we won't be surprised if we start to see some local transmission of the virus," told CDC spokesman Tom Skinner as mentioned in a news report by Al Jazeera.

To avert future cases of Zika virus-related infections, CDC issued travel alert to dissuade US pregnant women from traveling to a number of health-risk Caribbean and Latin American countries with huge documented cases of severe birth defects associated with mosquito-linked viral infections.

The areas covered in the travel alert include places like Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Venezuela.

According to CBS News, microcephaly is a serious birth defect where the baby's head is smaller than the normal size leading to limited cognitive development or, worse, mental retardation.

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