It’s believed to be a first in the continental US, and it was probably inevitable. A baby girl with severe microcephaly was born at a hospital in Hackensack, NJ, to a mother infected with the Zika virus, ABC News reports. The CDC confirmed that the mosquito-born virus causes the condition. Dr. Manny Alvarez, chairman of the obstetrics department at Hackensack University Medical Center, tells the New York Times that the 31-year-old mother was visiting the US from Honduras, where she contracted the virus. He says that after she tested positive for Zika and an ultrasound found that the baby was underweight, doctors opted to deliver the girl by cesarean section at 35 weeks to prevent the virus from doing any more damage.
The mother “is receiving exceptional care during this difficult time and we would appreciate everyone respecting the mother’s privacy,” a hospital spokeswoman said in a statement to KTLA. Babies born with microcephaly have exceptionally small heads and often have brain damage. They usually behave much like other newborns, NBC New York notes, but learning problems and physical disabilities appear later on.