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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

First baby born in Europe with Zika-linked microcephaly born in Spain

An aborted foetus in Slovenia also had microcephaly.

Lara a baby born with microcephaly in Brazil late last year.
Lara a baby born with microcephaly in Brazil late last year.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

A WOMAN INFECTED with the Zika virus has given birth to a baby with the brain-damaging disorder microcephaly, a hospital in Barcelona said.

While traces of Zika were found in an aborted foetus in Slovenia that had severe microcephaly, this is the first time a baby has been born with the condition to a mother carrying the virus in Europe.

The mother, who has not been identified, caught the virus on a trip abroad but authorities have declined to say where. A hospital source said she was infected in Latin America, where the virus is prevalent.

“The baby did not require any resuscitation,” Felix Castillo, neonatal chief at the Vall d’Hebron hospital in Barcelona, told a press conference, adding that the infant’s vital signs were “normal and stable”.

The baby’s sex has not been revealed for privacy reasons.

The newborn’s health is being constantly “monitored” and initial tests confirm that “its head circumference is smaller than normal and that it has microcephaly”, Castillo added.

Microcephaly is a disorder that causes babies to be born with an abnormally small skull and is linked to Zika along with a number of other birth defects.

The baby was born by Caesarean section after 40 weeks of pregnancy.

“The mother is doing well,” said Elena Carreras, head of obstetrics at the hospital, adding that both parents were “very excited” about the birth.

Authorities announced in May that they had detected microcephaly in the foetus, but the couple decided to keep the baby.

Doctors refused to give any further information about the mother or child.

Researchers said earlier today that tens of thousands of babies may be born with debilitating Zika-related disorders in the course of the outbreak sweeping through Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mathematical projections suggest about 93.4 million people may catch the virus — including some 1.65 million pregnant women — before the epidemic fizzles out, a team reported in the journal Nature Microbiology.

© – AFP 2016 with reporting by Rónán Duffy

Read: Zika health emergency declared across half of Peru >

Read: Brazil’s health minister says “less than one tourist will be infected” with Zika virus >

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