Healthy, normal baby born to woman infected with Zika, says health chief

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial confirmed Wednesday that a healthy and normal baby boy was born to a woman who had caught the Zika virus.

"We have one (pregnant woman diagnosed with Zika before) who had given birth before Christmas," said Ubial when asked for an update on Zika infections in the country.

She said they will monitor the baby's development, especially his brain development, until he is two years old as part of a study on the effects of Zika on babies born to women who were infected when they were pregnant.

The mother of the baby was the 16-year-old from Las PiAas City who contracted the virus on the third trimester of her pregnancy.

The health chief noted that while the baby was born without any abnormality, this does not mean that Zika has no effect on babies whose mothers got infected on the third trimester of their pregnancy.

She dispelled the idea that since the brain develops in the first and second trimester of pregnancy, Zika acquired during the late stage of pregnancy has no effect on the baby's brain.

"Even the WHO (World Health Organization) said this is still being monitored," she pointed out.

Ubial said her department is following the pregnancy of three other women from Quezon City, Cebu, and BiAan in Laguna. The woman from Cebu is due to give birth this January.

"(They) will be under close surveillance because we all know that this is very new phenomena in our health system, so we really don't know when the manifestations will come out," Ubial said.

The health department has confirmed 52 Zika cases in health facilities nationwide. The patients' ages range from seven to 59 years. Of the total, 34 are female.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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