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First Baby with Zika-linked Birth Defect Born in Europe

  • VOA News

People are seen at the entrance of the maternity emergency unit at the Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, July 25, 2016. A mother at the hospital has given birth to a baby with microcephaly.

People are seen at the entrance of the maternity emergency unit at the Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, July 25, 2016. A mother at the hospital has given birth to a baby with microcephaly.

Health officials in Spain say a woman has given birth to a baby with the microcephaly birth defect associated with the Zika virus — the first birth of its kind in Europe.

Officials say the woman had been diagnosed with the Zika virus in May, and had decided to keep the baby.

Doctors in Barcelona say the baby's vital signs are "normal and stable," and the infant did not require any resuscitation. They say initial tests confirm the baby's head circumference is smaller than normal and that it has microcephaly.

The mother contracted the Zika virus while traveling earlier this year to South America. While hundreds of people in Europe are known to have contracted Zika, mostly after traveling to infected countries, this is the first European birth of a baby born with microcephaly associated with the virus.

Spain has 190 known cases of Zika infections, all but one of which resulted from traveling overseas. The other case resulted from sexual transmission.

Zika is spread primarily through mosquito bites, but can also be transferred by sexual contact. Experts are especially concerned about infected mosquitoes biting pregnant women because the virus can cause microcephaly.

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