Medics confirm first case of baby born in Ireland with a congenital Zika infection

Authors of journal paper state baby girl ‘requires multidisciplinary healthcare team care’

A health  technician  looks at  the cultivated Aedes aegyti mosquito larvae at a laboratory in Costa Rica in  2016.  Photograph: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters

A health technician looks at the cultivated Aedes aegyti mosquito larvae at a laboratory in Costa Rica in 2016. Photograph: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters

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Medics at a Dublin maternity hospital have confirmed the first documented case of a baby born in Ireland with a congenital Zika virus infection.

In 2016, the World Health Organisation declared a public health emergency due to concerns of severe postnatal neurological complications following babies born with the congenital Zika virus.

The Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes. Most people with Zika virus infection do not develop symptoms.

Now, in the June edition of the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), medics at the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street in Dublin confirm that a baby of a Brazilian mother has been born in Ireland with a congenital Zika virus infection.

The health impact of contracting the virus disease varies greatly from asymptomatic infection to disabling neurological impairment and death.

The medics state at 14 months the baby born in Ireland had developed epilepsy, quadriplegic cerebral palsy, visual impairment and showed severe global developmental delay.

The authors of the journal paper state the baby girl “requires multidisciplinary healthcare team care”.

The paper revealed the baby’s mother was in her native Brazil during the first trimester of pregnancy where she suffered from fever and myalgia.

The Zika virus was detected in the mother’s blood at 11 weeks into her pregnancy but was no longer detected at 31 weeks gestation.

At birth, the baby was diagnosed with severe microcephaly, where the head is smaller than normal, but the examination was otherwise normal.

A urine test the day after birth was negative for the Zika virus but the placenta tested positive for the virus.

The paper states though the infant was negative for Zika, she had many of the clinical features consistent with congenital Zika and maternal Zika during pregnancy.

The medics say the case highlights the deficiencies in the current laboratory criteria here for congenital Zika virus “and the need for expert consultation whilst investigating possible cases”.