A baby has been born in Alameda County with Zika-related birth defects, possibly at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, according to Berkeleyside.
The California Department of Public Health, or CDPH, confirmed in a press release Thursday that two infants with Zika-related microcephaly have been born in the state of California to women who had Zika virus infections during pregnancy.
On Friday, the Alameda County Public Health Department, or ACPHD, confirmed that the county has seen one Zika case but was unwilling to provide any further details regarding the case. According to Berkeleyside, a baby was born with Zika-related birth defects in Berkeley, at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, within the past 6 months.
“This is a sobering reminder for Californians that Zika can cause serious harm to a developing fetus,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith in the CDPH press release.
Arthur Reingold, professor and division head of epidemiology at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, said it is unlikely that the Zika virus will ever become an epidemic either in Berkeley or in the state of California. According to Reingold, the Zika virus is a classic mosquito-borne illness.
“It’s a very tragic event for the family,” Reingold said. “Assuming the baby survives, it’ll likely have major health problems for the rest of his or her life and will require long-term institutional care. However, the event doesn’t really have longer-term public health implications.”
Reingold added that 80 percent of those who obtain the Zika virus are asymptomatic and recover completely. Only one in 10,000 people will obtain Guillain–Barré syndrome, a rare polio-like disease associated with the Zika virus.
According to the CDPH press release, CDPH has found 114 travel-associated Zika virus infections in 22 counties as of July 29. Furthermore, a total of 21 infections have been reported in pregnant women.
“The major concern, however, is women passing the Zika virus to a baby in utero,” Reingold said. “Also, because it can be sexually transmitted, we worry that if a man or woman comes back from an infected area, they can pass it to one another.”