Medical Mystery: Baby Born With Zika Virus Not Showing Microcephaly Symptoms
Doctors in Florida will be monitoring baby Micaela Mendoza for many years.
Born eight weeks ago to a mother infected with the Zika virus, the dark-haired infant does not have microcephaly, the trademark birth defect that has afflicted most exposed babies with abnormally small heads and brain damage.
"She looks normal to me, but the doctors say she’s not," mom Maria Ramirez Bolivar told CBS affiliate WSVN-TV.
The woman was diagnosed with Zika, usually carried by mosquitos, in her native Venezuela.
Sonograms showed no signs of birth defects, but after Micaela was born, doctors in Miami spent several weeks running tests on the baby girl.
They discovered calcification in her brain, which is scar-like tissue, as well as a circle-shaped scar in the retina of her left eye.
Physicians at the University of Miami say they don’t know what effects those conditions will have on the child because so much about the virus remains a mystery.
"The plan right now is to follow her for five to six years," said Dr. Ivan Gonzalez.
Sixteen babies have been born in the U.S. with Zika-related birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has established a registry to follow pregnant women infected with the virus.