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The first case of brain damage linked to the Zika virus within the United States was reported on Friday in Hawaii.
The Hawaii State Department of Health said that a baby born in an Oahu hospital with microcephaly — an unusually small head and brain — had been infected with the Zika virus, which is believed to have caused the same damage in thousands of babies in Brazil in recent months. The presence of the virus was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The child’s mother had lived in Brazil in May last year and probably was infected by a mosquito then, early in her pregnancy, the health department said. The virus presumably reached the embryo and damaged its developing brain.
There have been no confirmed cases of Zika virus transmission within Hawaii, Dr. Park said. Six Hawaii residents are known to have had the virus since 2014, but all picked it up through travel elsewhere. Nevertheless, Hawaii is undergoing an outbreak of dengue fever, and the same mosquitoes that transmit it also can transmit Zika.
Adult female mosquitoes pick them up by biting one infected human, and then, some days later, after the virus has traveled from their gut to their salivary glands, they infect another human. Dr. Park said neither the mother nor the baby in Hawaii is still infectious.
Does Zika cause serious difficulties to adults or is it just to developing babies?