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Woman With Zika Delivers Baby With Microcephaly In New Jersey Hospital

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A 31-year-old woman with Zika delivered a baby girl bearing birth defects linked to the mosquito-borne virus in a hospital in New Jersey.

The unidentified woman, who is visiting relatives in the United States from Honduras, a nation ravaged by the virus, gave birth at the Hackensack University Medical Center on Tuesday.

Hospital representatives said that she contracted the disease in Honduras after she was bitten by an infected mosquito during the early stages of her pregnancy albeit she did not show symptoms other than rashes.

Doctors in her home country suspected of intracranial complications but doctors at Hackensack eventually confirmed that the child has microcephaly once the woman was admitted to the high-risk unit of the hospital.

"The baby apparently had been not developing properly over the last month or so," said Hackensack chief of obstetrics and gynecology Manny Alvarez. "This patient came in on Friday for the first time ... and my team decided that it was appropriate now to deliver the baby."

The baby was delivered by cesarean section following results of an ultrasound that confirmed severe microcephaly, a condition marked by partially developed brain and head and is known to lead to developmental delays, hearing loss, seizures and severe mental disabilities. Doctors also reported that the baby has visual and intestinal problems.

"We saw on the ultrasound the baby was highly affected with multiple congenital abnormalities, including severe microcephaly," said Alvarez. "Our high-risk team saw the baby was not doing well."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials confirmed in April of the definite link between Zika virus and microcephaly marking the first time that a mosquito-borne virus is associated with congenital brain defects. Earlier this month, researchers revealed how Zika manages to get through the placenta to damage the brain of the developing fetus.

The child, who was born premature and weighed less than 6 pounds at birth, is the first case of baby born with Zika-linked microcephaly in the continental U.S. Earlier this year, a baby with microcephaly linked to the virus was born in Hawaii.

Officials of the hospital requested privacy for the mother as she and her child receive care.

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