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Health & Science

First Zika-Linked Microcephaly Case Identified in Harris County Baby

This is the first case in Texas of an infant born with microcephaly testing positive for the Zika virus.


While some scientists seek ways to stop the spread of Zika by mosquitoes, others have received new funding from the National Institutes of Health to track the genes and habits of the virus itself.
A photo of the mosquito that carries the Zika virus.

Harris County health officials confirmed Wednesday the first birth defect in the area related to the Zika virus, marking also the first such case in Texas.

Harris County Public Health said in a press release that the infant has microcephaly, an abnormally small head size, and also tested positive for the Zika virus.

The mother had traveled to Latin America and later got tested for Zika during her pregnancy. But the results of that test were inconclusive, according to officials.

No other details about the family are being released at this time.

So far, all cases of Zika infection in the United States involve people who traveled abroad to countries where the virus is widespread.

Zika is transmitted primarily by two species of mosquitoes, but it can also be transmitted sexually. The virus has not yet been found in local mosquito populations.

"Microcephaly is one of the worst tragedies related to Zika virus infection. We are sad to report that we now have our first case of Zika-associated microcephaly and our hearts go out to the family," said Umair Shah, executive director of the Harris County Public Health, in a statement.

Shah added that he encourages individuals traveling to areas where the virus has been identified to take steps to prevent Zika infection and to contact their healthcare provider immediately if they develop Zika symptoms even after their return to the United States.