First local child born with defect caused by the Zika virus

Zika Virus infections inside a group of cells.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

“Zika Virus infections inside a group of cells.”

Salvador Martinez, Photojournalist

A baby born recently in the county of San Diego is the first in the region to suffer horrible birth defects after the infant’s mother was infected with the virus while traveling abroad. Public-health officials said the case, announced on Tuesday by the county government, is a horrific reminder that the risk of Zika infection continues in warmer climates even though mosquitoes are currently dormant here in San Diego and most of Southern California. Eventhough, there is currently no local spread of the Zika virus, there is still a need to remember that all have people to be vigilant in protecting themselves and in their communities from diseases like Zika.


Pregnant women are strongly suggested to avoid going to humid countries where mosquitoes are actively transmitting the dangerous virus. Those who absolutely must travel to such locations are recommended to strictly follow guidelines designed to prevent infections from mosquito bites, from using an effective repellent to wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants. So far, little information was released on Tuesday about the local family that has been directly affected by this medical crisis that now stretches from Mexico and South/Central America to Northern Asia. Viewing these health issues, the San Diego County health department declined to disclose the child’s birth date or gender, or the country that the mother had visited.


A total of 87 people living in San Diego County have tested positive for the Zika virus, and all of those infections occurred while the patients were visiting other nations. Seven of those individuals, including the mother who recently gave birth to the child with birth defects, are or were pregnant during their infection period, according to the health department. Travel-related Zika concerns have created such a steady stream of requests for information from the county health department that an extra expert was hired to help handle the situation.


Two of the region’s in SoCal, 87 infections were spread through sexual contact. One was transmitted from mother to baby before birth but did not cause microcephaly, the most common birth defect associated with the Zika virus. Microcephaly is the medical condition in which a baby is born with a head that is smaller than the normal average head. The birth defect may cause no significant symptoms at birth, but many children with the condition later develop epilepsy, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, hearing loss and vision problems, stated by the World Health Organization.


Some children with microcephaly are lead to experience normal development, and science has not figured out what spares certain kids but afflicts others. In fact, scientists are trying to determine why most children born to Zika-infected women do not have birth defects at the very start. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,228 pregnant women in the United States have been infected with Zika as of March 14. 54 babies have been born with birth defects, and 7 pregnancies have been lost before birth due to birth defects caused by this horrible virus.


Nationwide, there have been 4,861 travel-related cases of Zika infection, with an additional 222 presumed to be “locally transmitted” by mosquitoes in the United States. Jenna Weitzmann (10) says “I know friends whose relatives have been affected by this horrible virus, that it has made a enormous change in their lives.”