Five New York City Babies Have Zika-Related Birth Defects, Including Microcephaly

Five babies in New York City have Zika-related brain defects, reports the New York Times. In July, an infected mother gave birth to city’s first newborn with microcephaly, a condition that shrinks the heads and brains of babies; four more infants with Zika-related development disorders have been born since. Eight other New York newborns have tested positive for the Zika virus, but, so far, have shown no signs of microcephaly or other neurological abnormalities. However, there is evidence that Zika can cause brain and muscular defects to develop later on.

A total of 962 New Yorkers have tested positive for the Zika virus since January, including 325 pregnant woman, according to statistics from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Health officials warn that the number of babies with Zika-related disorders may rise as more women give birth. (About 200 moms who tested positive for a Zika infection during pregnancy have already given birth; officials are tracking those babies in their first year.)

All cases of the virus in New York are related to travel to a Zika hotspot, including a small number — just six — of individuals who became infected by having sex with a partner who visited a Zika zone. At least 28 babies in the U.S. have been born with Zika-related birth defects, and 1,114 pregnant U.S. woman tested positive for the virus, according to the CDC. (Those figures exclude Puerto Rico and other territories.) Since the end of November, 4,496 Zika cases have been recorded in the United States. The bulk of those are also tied to travel, though 185 are local infections. Those instances of Zika primarily originated in Florida (whose state Department of Health actually reports 244 homegrown cases as of this week), where Miami-area mosquitoes spread the virus stateside this summer. Texas recorded its first local infection last week.

Five New York City Babies Have Zika-Related Birth Defects