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Spain's first baby born to Zika infected mother given all clear

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Spain's first baby born to Zika infected mother given all clear
The zika virus is spread by mosquitos. Photo: AFP
12:04 CET+01:00
Spain has seen the first birth to a mother infected with Zika and so far the newborn seems unaffected by the head shrinking virus.

The baby was born several weeks premature at the University Hospital of Santiago in the northwestern region of Galicia last week and is being cared for in the neonatal unit.

Hospital authorities reported that first signs indicate that the baby was not affected by the Zika virus, which was contracted by the mother on a trip to Venezuela when she was between four and five months pregnant, according to El Pais.

The woman was only diagnosed as having contracted the virus when she came into the hospital in late February and reported having experienced a fever and itchy skin while on the recent trip to Venezuela.

"The premature birth of the child had nothing to do with the Zika virus infection and the newborn is currently being evaluated by pediatricians," confirmed Xurxo Hervada from Galicia’s regional Department of Health.

There are currently 38 Zika virus cases across Spain, including four pregnant women, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health, and all of them were infected in South America before returning to Spain.

The mosquito-borne virus, which had previously been viewed as causing only a relatively mild illness is suspected of being linked to a spike in neurological birth defects including microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and may have developmental problems.

Brazil is at the centre of the outbreak where 1.5 million cases have been reported. Between October last year and the end of February, 2016 the country confirmed 5909 cases of microcephaly including 139 that resulted in death.

But scientists have yet to find a definitive link between Zika, which has spread to more than 30 countries, and the birth defects.

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