First Baby Born In Texas With Zika-related Birth Defect
The first baby in Texas has been born with Zika-related microcephly.
Harris County Public Health has just confirmed the first Zika-related birth defect in the State of Texas. A baby in Harris County has tested positive for Zika-related microcephaly, a "condition in which babies have abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development."
The child's mother traveled to Latin America and was tested for Zika but the initial test results were inconclusive. The infant was born and there were definitive positive lab results for Zika. The Harris County Public Health Department believe the mother was infected with Zika in Latin America, then had the virus while pregnant. Officials also assured the public that neither the mother nor the child were infectious and there was no threat to the public.
According to Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, executive director of HCPH,
"Microcephaly is one of the worst tragedies related to Zika virus infection. Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that Zika is linked to birth defects, we continue to encourage individuals traveling to areas where the virus has been identified to take steps to prevent Zika infection, and to contact their healthcare provider immediately if they develop Zika symptoms even upon return to the United States."
There are more than 1,100 travel-related Zika cases in the continental U.S., with 320 cases in pregnant women. There are 59 cases in Texas, 3 of whom are pregnant women.
Transmission of the Zika virus in Texas is likely, according to Shah, who also told TIME that he "would not be surprised if Zika is already transmitting locally in the state, since identifying these cases will be difficult."
Symptoms of the Zika virus are usually mild and include:
- conjunctivitis (red eyes),
- joint-pain, lasting several days to a week.
The Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually. Severe cases of the Zika virus may require hospitalization and death is rare. Currently there is no treatment to prevent or medication to treat the Zika virus according to the CDC.