Baby with Zika-related birth defect born in San Diego County

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An infant with the severe birth defect microcephaly was born in San Diego County this week to a mother infected with the Zika virus, prompting the local health department to reinstate travel advisories for foreign countries where Zika is common.

The county released a statement Tuesday announcing the infant's mother was infected with Zika while traveling in a foreign country. The woman then returned to San Diego County, where she gave birth to the infant.

While the county currently has 87 confirmed cases of Zika infections in adults, the baby born with microcephaly associated with the virus is the county's first case of its kind. More details of the family involved in the case were not made public due to privacy concerns, the statement said.

Microcephaly is a condition where a baby's head and brain are smaller than normal, according to the statement. Children with microcephaly also frequently have other neurological health problems.

While most adults with Zika infections don't exhibit symptoms, the virus contributes to the development of birth defects during pregnancy.   

Public health officials and members of the medical community are seeking to reinforce the importance of preventative action against transmitting Zika, San Diego County deputy public health officer Dr. Sayone Thihalolipavan told KPCC.

"While the story is tragic, it's an important reminder of how we all, or especially pregnant women or couples thinking of becoming pregnant, need to remain vigilant and protecting ourselves and our community from Zika," Thihalolipavan said. 

Thihalolipavan advised all travelers to visit the CDC's website for an updated list of foreign countries where transmitting Zika is common. The list includes measures for preventing mosquito bites and preventing sexual transmission of the virus between partners.

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