Baby with Zika-linked microcephaly born at New Jersey hospital

Posted at 7:12 AM, Jun 01, 2016

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- A woman carrying Zika virus gave birth to a baby with microcephaly Tuesday in New Jersey, according to a statement from Hackensack University Medical Center.

The unidentified baby was born at Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital to a woman who officials say contracted Zika internationally.

Officials confirmed that the baby suffers from Zika-linked microcephaly, a condition where the child's brain and head are only partially developed.

“The mother, who is visiting the United States, is receiving exceptional care during this difficult time and we would appreciate everyone respecting the mother’s privacy,” Sheri Hensley, senior media specialist at Hackensack University Medical Center, said in an email.

In January, health officials confirmed that a baby with severe microcephaly was born in Hawaii to a woman who had become infected with the Zika virus while living in Brazil. Earlier this month health officials in Puerto Rico confirmed their first case of a fetus with severe microcephaly linked to local transmission of the virus.

The Zika virus, transmitted by the aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito, has spread to at least 34 countries and territories. The World Health Organization estimates 3 to 4 million people across the Americas will be infected in the next year.

The CDC has warned pregnant women against travel to those areas. Health officials in several of those countries are telling women to avoid pregnancy -- in some cases for as long as two years.

The CDC issued these guidelines:

  • Women and men without symptoms who have traveled to or had sex with someone who has traveled to a Zika-infected area are now advised to wait at least eight weeks after possible exposure to the virus before the woman tries to become pregnant, according to the guidelines.
  • Men who have traveled to a Zika-infected area who have not had symptoms of the virus are now advised to abstain from sex or use a condom for at least eight weeks after returning from the area.
  • Men who live in a Zika-infected area should use condoms or abstain from sex as long as the Zika virus is circulating there.
  • Women and men who do not have the virus but who live in areas where the virus is being transmitted are now advised to talk with their health care providers about plans for pregnancy during the ongoing outbreak.

CNN contributed to this report.