No microcephaly in baby born to Zika-infected mum

PETALING JAYA: The pregnant woman from Johor Baru who was infected by the Zika virus has given birth to a normal baby girl with no microcephaly, the Health Ministry said.

The 28-year-old mother, the first pregnant woman in Malaysia to be tested positive for Zika, delivered the baby in a public hospital in Johor Baru on Thursday night, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

“The baby has normal head circumference. The mother and baby are well,” he told The Star.

Microcephaly is a rare condition where a baby is born with a small head or the head stops growing after birth.

It can occur with no other major birth defects but severe microcephaly can result in a baby’s brain not developing properly during pregnancy, or it develops correctly but is damaged at some point during pregnancy.

In September, the mother from Taman Desa Harmoni, whose husband worked in Singapore where the infection was at its height there then, was the third person to be tested positive.

She was over three months pregnant when she showed signs of fever, rashes and body aches.

Her husband was later confirmed as the fourth patient to be infected. The man in his 30s was a chef in Singapore and commutes there daily.

Dr Noor Hisham said that there was no documented cases of microcephaly associated with the Zika virus in Malaysia as of today.

The other pregnant woman who tested positive for Zika was the fifth patient – a 36-year-old woman in Miri, Sarawak.

She was admitted to hospital in September after complaining of prolonged fever, flu and sore throat.

The ministry had said that the two pregnant mothers were being closely monitored by their obstetrics and gynaecology specialists in their respective states.

In total, eight people tested positive for Zika in Malaysia.

All the patients were well at the point of discharge from hospital except for one patient who died of heart complications while in hospital.

Zika was declared a global health emergency in February 2016 by the World Health Organisation.

By Nov 18, it declared that Zika no longer posed a world public health emergency but warned that it remained a challenge.


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