4 Facts About The First U.S. Baby Born With Zika Virus Defects

HONOLULU (AP) — Health officials say a baby born in a Hawaii hospital is the first in the U.S. with a birth defect linked to the Zika virus, a tropical illness currently found in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The Hawaii state Department of Health said the baby’s mother likely contracted the disease while living in Brazil last year and passed it on while her child was in the womb.

Here are some questions and answers about the case.

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IS THERE A RISK THE VIRUS WILL SPREAD IN HAWAII?

Not from this case.

The Zika virus is spread when a mosquito bites an infected person and then bites someone else. It is not transmitted from person to person.

Dr. Sarah Park, the Hawaii state epidemiologist, said Tuesday the mother no longer had the virus when she arrived in Hawaii and the baby no longer had it at the time of birth. There was no chance a mosquito could have bitten them and spread it to others.

One of the mosquitoes that can carry the virus, Aedes aegypti, is not common in Hawaii. It has been found in some pockets of the islands and is blamed for an ongoing outbreak on the Big Island of the dengue virus, which is spread the same way as Zika. Dengue can cause high fever, headache, nausea and other symptoms.

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HAVE PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES CONTRACTED THE VIRUS BEFORE?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 26 travelers returning to the U.S. have been diagnosed with Zika since 2007 — all of them believed to have caught it overseas. In addition, a person in Puerto Rico who had not traveled was diagnosed with the illness. On Tuesday, Illinois said two pregnant women tested positive for the virus after traveling to countries where Zika is found. Physicians are monitoring their health —> Read More

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