A baby girl born to a mother infected with the Zika virus in New Jersey has a birth defect linked to the disease, hospital officials say. According to the Associated Press, a Honduran woman delivered the baby via cesarean section on Tuesday at the Hackensack University Medical Center. Abdulla Al-Khan, MD, the hospital's director of maternal-fetal medicine and surgery told AP that the 31-year-old mother was diagnosed with Zika in her native Honduras and had come to New Jersey, where she has family, to seek further treatment. Dr. Al-Khan also said that though an early ultrasound showed no abnormalities, another ultrasound from last week showed birth defects, including microcephaly, a condition in which the baby's head is smaller than expected because the brain hasn't developed properly. Although Dr. Al-Khan said that further testing is required to confirm that the baby's condition is indeed due to Zika, he's "90 to 95%" certain that it is. "It was very sad for us to see a baby born with such a condition," he added per the AP. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed earlier this year that the Zika virus can cause microcephaly, and this particular case marks the first incidence of a baby with Zika-related defects in the Tri-State area, though she is the second baby born in the greater U.S. with Zika-related microcephaly. The first case was reported in Hawaii in January.
The CDC and the World Health Organization have both issued warnings to advise pregnant women against traveling to places affected by Zika. Last month, the CDC also reported a higher number of pregnant women in the U.S. with the disease than it previously expected. Dr. Al-Khan called the recent case in New Jersey "absolutely devastating," but hopes it will serve as an "awakening call" for the country to take stronger measures against Zika.