Despite concern from both members of the pubic and physicians about the Zika virus, one woman’s symptoms were minimized by her doctor. That same woman delivered the first baby to be born with the Zika virus in the Tri-State area on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old Honduran woman was diagnosed with the virus in her native country where there is currently a Level 2 alert in place; the prevalence of the virus has reached a degree that practicing enhanced precautions is recommended for all citizens.
Despite coming from a country in which the virus is active, when the mother arrived in New Jersey for medical treatment, her concerns about a fever and a rash that had developed during her pregnancy were largely dismissed by her physician.
“He said, ‘Don’t worry, everything will be fine. I don’t think you will be affected.’ Then I had an ultrasound, and everything looked fine,” she told Fox News Latino earlier this week.
The diagnosis stemmed from the fact that the mother didn’t exhibit other symptoms common to the virus, such as red or pained eyes. The ultrasound was also early in the woman’s pregnancy, which didn’t show birth defects until another ultrasound was done later in her pregnancy.
Through subsequent tests, other possible abnormalities were eliminated as causes for the mother’s symptoms.
The baby girl was ultimately born with what Dr. Abdulla Al-Khan, the hospital’s chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive science, describes as microcephaly. Zika-related microcephaly involves unusual smallness of the head, associated with incomplete brain development. Last April, the link between microcephaly and Zika was proven by the director of the Center for Disease control and Prevention, who confirmed that Zika indeed causes microcephaly.
According to Al-Khan, most babies born under such circumstances have a host of neurological problems and typically don’t do well. “It was very sad for us to see a baby born with such a condition,” Al-Khan told Fox News Latino. “What human being isn’t going to be devastated by this news?”
The mother suspects that she contracted the virus from a mosquito, but in a video interview she noted that she can’t know for sure. Transmission by mosquitoes is the most common means by which Zika is spread, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, other means of transmission are also possible, including contracting the virus from a male sexual partner, and, of course, from mother to child.
In response to the risk of Zika virus being transmitted from pregnant women to their children, a national registry is being kept in order to track more than 300 pregnant women in the United States who have the virus. Notably, this child is not the only one to be born with Zika virus in the USA, despite being the first in the Tri-State Area.
The mother has yet to be named but is speaking out about taking caution when symptoms of the virus are noticed.
“Sometimes we can underestimate things, but when it’s your turn to be in that situation, that’s the hard part,” she told Fox.
Featured image source: People