Spain Sees First Zika-Related Microcephaly Birth In Europe

By Milena Veselinovic and James Griffiths

A hospital in Spain says it has registered Europe’s first case of a baby born with microcephaly associated with the Zika virus.

Vall d’Hebron hospital in Barcelona said the baby’s mother contracted the virus after a trip to Latin America.
The baby, born on Monday, is believed to be the only recorded case of Zika-related microcephaly in Europe, the country’s Ministry of Health said.
Spain has 190 known Zika cases to date, according to the country’s health ministry, 189 contracted abroad, while one case was sexually transmitted.
Not every baby born to a Zika-infected mother suffers from microcephaly or other birth defects. Spanish Secretary of Public Health Joan Guiz said five other women with the virus have given birth to seemingly healthy babies “in recent months.”

Global public health emergency

Zika has been declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization because of the risk to newborns.
In April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the virus causes microcephaly and other birth defects, joining the WHO in warning of the potentially severe risks of infection.
Zika, transmitted by the aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito, has spread to at least 65 countries and territories. WHO estimates 3 million to 4 million people across the Americas will be infected with the virus in the next year.
With no treatment or vaccine available, the only surefire protection against Zika is to avoid travel to areas with an active infestation.
Those who live or travel in Zika-affected areas are advised to adhere to strict mosquito prevention measures.

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