New York City Reports it’s First Baby Born with Zika Related Defect
This Friday, health officials have released information about the first baby in New York City born with microcephaly, a known birth defect attributed to the Zika virus. This condition usually causes babies to have an unusually small head that can impair brain development. It is estimated over 1,500 babies who are born with microcephaly all over the world, with most cases in Brazil. Unfortunately, doctors are still unsure how the virus works and how to help prevent the side effects it causes on adults and unborn babies in the uterus.
Microcephaly requires intensive care and can lead to seizures, intellectual disability, hearing loss, and degraded vision. The New York baby is one of the dozens of babies in the United States that are affected by microcephaly. Since this spring, there have been cases mostly found in New Jersey and Florida of babies born with microcephaly.
The New York mother was believed to be traveling to one of the fifty countries that are currently experiencing the Zika scare and epidemic. Her baby was born around July and tested positive for the Zika virus, yet declined to inform if she was previously tested for the virus before returning to the United States or if she was a part of a registry that tracks the outcomes of her pregnancy. New York officials are recommending women who plan to become pregnant in the near future not to travel to countries where the Zika virus is at large.
Out of 2,000 pregnant women who traveled last week to areas containing infected mosquitos that contain the virus, only 41 of the women have tested positive for Zika. More individuals have also requested to be tested since the discovery of men and woman sexually transmitting the virus to one another. The United States health department reported that 56 people requested to be tested.
The CDC has informed women that if they aren’t currently pregnant or don’t plan to be pregnant anytime soon after possibly being infected, a future child should be safe from developing microcephaly. CDC officials claim that the Zika virus only resides within a woman’s bloodstream for a few months, but it has yet to be confirmed true.
Health officials all over the world are especially concerned how long the virus remains in male sperm, saying that males have a higher percentage to pass the virus to their female partners rather than a woman passing it to their male partners. Even worse it is deeply complicated to determine if an unborn baby has developed microcephaly, with the earliest tests being done during a pregnant woman’s third trimester. All we can do is know the risks when traveling and try to help babies who are born with microcephaly to get the proper care they need.