An infant born with microcephaly in New Jersey on Tuesday was delivered via emergency cesarean section and remains on intravenous nutrition, doctors said today.
The infant is only the second baby suspected of being born in the U.S. with the Zika virus-related birth defect, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain. Another baby was born with the condition in Hawaii earlier this year.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was monitoring 157 pregnant women in the U.S. with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection as of May 20.
In this case, the infant's mother had contracted the Zika virus outside the U.S. and was visiting the country when she gave birth, doctors said today, noting that it was "too early" to tell what the child's life expectancy would be.
Dr. Abdulla Al-Khan, an obstetrician at Hackensack University Medical Center, is caring for the infant and told ABC News that "all babies born with microcephaly generally have a very poor prognosis -- survival is very poor with these babies."
The mother delivered via emergency cesarean section at approximately 35 weeks, Al-Khan said.
"The mother was initially in Honduras, where she contracted the Zika infection," Al-Khan told reporters. "She was evaluated by her old [obstetrician/gynecologist] and some other specialists. ... The patient opted to come to the United States for better care for her and her unborn fetus."
Dr. Julia Piwoz, section chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Hackensack University Medical Center, said multiple specialists were tending to the infant and they were determining if the child could safely feed on her own, noting that the newborn is currently on IV nutrition.
"The baby is only a day old. We need to more thoroughly evaluate the baby’s neurological symptoms," Piwoz told reporters.
Medical officials are also helping the mother deal with the trauma and difficulty of giving birth to a sick infant, Al-Khan said.
"I think this has been rather difficult for the family," Al-Khan said. "To me, this is quite frankly catastrophic. ... This is a time for us to get together, unite and do everything possible to combat the condition."