AUSTIN (KXAN) — A baby born back in September is Travis County’s first infant born with microcephaly as a result of congenital Zika virus. The Austin Public Health department received laboratory confirmation on the child earlier this week.
The department says the mother emigrated from Central America in August 2016, the baby was born one month later. During her pregnancy, she reported experiencing an illness consistent with Zika virus. Health officials say the mother did not acquire Zika locally.
As of Dec. 30, 2016, in Travis County, 20 people have tested positive for Zika Virus including six pregnant women. All cases are travel-associated infections. In Texas, a total of 294 cases of illness related to Zika have been reported. The total includes 20 pregnant women, two infants infected before birth, and two people who had sexual contact with travelers.
Zika virus infection in pregnant women is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Zika also has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system in which a person’s immune system damages the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.
Austin Public Health staff are available 24/7 to support healthcare providers (512) 972-5555 responding to any patient with a suspect Zika virus infection.