VIDEO-Third baby born in U.S. shows defect tied to Zika virus

On Tuesday officials at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey revealed that a mother with the Zika virus gave birth to a baby with microcephaly at the hospital. USA TODAY

An Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed inside a mosquito cage at the Fiocruz Institute in Brazil.(Photo: Felipe Dana, AP)

A baby with Zika-linked microcephaly remained hospitalized in a northern New Jersey on Wednesday with the first such birth defect case in the Northeast and the third in the nation, officials at Hackensack University Medical Center confirmed.

Doctors delivered the baby girl at 36 weeks on Tuesday after the mother, who recently arrived in the U.S. from Honduras, was admitted to the hospital's high-risk unit, Dr. Manny Alvarez told USA TODAY. The child also has intestinal and visual issues.

"The baby apparently had been not developing properly over the last month or so," said Alvarez, who is also senior managing health editor at "This patient came in on Friday for the first time ... and my team decided that it was appropriate now to deliver the baby."

Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than normal. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains and a range of problems including developmental delay, intellectual disability, problems with movement and balance, hearing loss and vision problems. The effects and severity of Zika-linked microcephaly become more apparent as children grow older.

The 31-year-old Honduran mother, who was not identified, showed no symptoms in Honduras other than a rash, reported. Doctors in her home country suspected, however, that she had cranial complications. It wasn't until she was admitted to the high-risk unit under the care of Alvarez and Dr. Abdulla Al-Khan that the baby showed signs of severe microcephaly.


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In a statement, the hospital told USA TODAY that the mother is "receiving exceptional care during this difficult time and we appreciate everyone respecting the mother’s privacy."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in February hat a woman gave birth in Hawaii to a baby with severe microcephaly. Al-Khan told Fox News that another child has since been born with the disease somewhere in the South.

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  registry says there are more than 300 pregnant women in the U.S. with "laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection." Although it's not clear what percentage of infected pregnancies result in microcephaly, a recent CDC report estimated the risk at up to 13%.

"Zika virus will likely continue to spread to new areas," the CDC warns.

Contributing: John Bacon

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