Two children have been born in California with Zika virus-related microcephaly, according to officials, one of them in Alameda County. One of them may have been born at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, according to media reports, although officials will not confirm this.
ABC7 reported Thursday, citing two unidentified sources, that one of the two babies was born at Alta Bates a few months ago.
The California Department of Public Health told Berkeleyside it has not reported or confirmed the locations of two Zika-related births of infants with birth defects in the state. According to state data, as of Friday, there have been 10 travel-related cases of Zika in Alameda County, seven in nearby Contra Costa County and 10 in San Francisco County.
The Alameda County Health Department confirmed Friday that the county “does have one Zika case.” Spokeswoman Sherri Willis said it would not provide any information about the location of the birth, the gender of the baby, the family or any other details about the case. Willis said this sort of information would never be released by the department.
“It’s unfortunate that any details about this case were released,” said Willis. “All we will confirm is that Alameda County has one case.”
The state public health agency has let it be known that two babies with Zika virus-related microcephaly had been born in California. In a statement issued Thursday, the agency said the two infants with Zika-related microcephaly had been born to women who had Zika virus infections during pregnancy “after spending time in a country where the virus is endemic.” The statement continued: “While mosquitoes that can carry the virus have been found in 12 California counties, there is no evidence these mosquitoes are transmitting Zika in the state at this time.”
Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
As of Aug. 5, CDPH has confirmed 134 travel-associated Zika virus infections in 22 counties. A total of 23 infections have been confirmed in pregnant women.
The media report about a potential baby born at Alta Bates with the Zika virus follows closely on an advisory issued by the City of Berkeley on Monday urging people, especially pregnant women, to take precautions when traveling to avoid the Zika infection. Some mosquitos carrying the Zika virus were recently discovered in Miami, Florida.
Of 1,658 Zika cases nationally, 433 involve pregnant women, as of July 21, according to the city’s release.
“Pregnant women or those considering pregnancy should use the CDC’s travel advisories to think carefully about summer travel,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, the city of Berkeley’s health officer.
The release states that at least 13 infants with birth defects have been born in the continental U.S. to women with Zika, a virus that has been overwhelmingly tied to travel to other countries. In addition, another six women with Zika had fetuses with birth defects that resulted in miscarriages, stillbirths or did not survive.
“These cases emphasize the most severe risks of Zika infection, which will result in mild, if any, symptoms for the vast majority of people. The cases also highlight that pregnant women and those considering pregnancy face great risk to their fetuses.”
A call to CDPH seeking more information Friday had not been returned by press time.
For more information about Zika, including symptoms and precautionary measures, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This story was updated with new information after hearing back from the Alameda County Health Department.
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