A woman in Spain infected with Zika virus gave birth to a baby with microcephaly (born with brain disease), thought to be the first in Europe.
Media reports said the baby born by caesarean section after 40 weeks of pregnancy. The child’s vital signs were normal and stable, according to Felix Castillo, neonatal chief at Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron hospital.
Castillo confirmed that the child’s head was smaller than normal and has microcephaly. He said that the child was being constantly monitored adding that the parents were excited about the birth.
Spain had 190 known cases of Zika infection to date and 189 of those were contracted abroad, as one by sexual transmission, according to its health ministry.
The case is believed to be the first in Europe, as authorities said the mother caught the virus on a trip abroad but did not specify which country. The said virus is prevalent in Latin America, particularly Brazil.
How Zika can spread:
Bites from mosquitoes that carry the virus
Maternal transmission from mother to baby in the womb
Unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sexual intercourse – although rare, the virus can persist in semen
Zika virus has been found in saliva and urine, but it is unknown whether it can spread through these routes
Blood transfusion – very likely but not confirmed
Earlier this year, World Health Organization declared Zika virus as a global public health emergency, as a risk to newborn children.
Zika virus is known to cause microcephaly, even the infection is largely mild with most people having no symptoms.
In such severe cases, children can die and babies who survive can face intellectual disability and development delays.