Texas Links Infant's Death to Zika-Related Birth Defect

PHOTO: Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in Campinas, Brazil, February 2, 2016. PlayPaulo Whitaker/REUTERS
WATCH Texas Links Infant's Death to Zika-Related Birth Defect

A Texas infant has died after being born with birth defects linked to microcephaly, according to the Texas Department of Health.

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The infant's mother contracted Zika while in Latin America before delivering the child in Texas. The baby had microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by an abnormally small head. This is the first Zika-related death in Texas.

“Zika’s impact on unborn babies can be tragic, and our hearts are with this family,” Dr. John Hellerstedt, Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner, said in a statement today. “Our central mission from the beginning has been to do everything we can to protect unborn babies from the devastating effects of Zika.”

There have been 97 Zika cases in Texas, all of which were acquired during travel. Two infants in the state have been born with Zika-related microcephaly. In the U.S. there have been at least 1,825 people diagnosed with Zika, and 479 pregnant women were among the infected, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus is mainly transmitted by infected mosquitoes, although in rare cases it has been transmitted by sexual contact. There have been 17 cases of locally acquired Zika in South Florida, where health officials have been battling an outbreak.

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