Skip to comments.First U.S. W. Nile Prenatal Case Reported
Posted on 12/19/2002 9:27:03 PM PST by Salvation
First U.S. W. Nile Prenatal Case Reported
First Confirmed Case of Prenatal West Nile Virus Infection Reported
The Associated Press
A month-old baby with the West Nile virus was infected before she was born in the country's first documented intrauterine transmission of the disease, according to a report.
The case surprised health officials who had believed the disease could not be passed from pregnant mothers to their unborn children, the Post-Standard of Syracuse reported Thursday.
The 20-year-old mother a resident of this central New York city was admitted to a hospital on Aug. 29 with fever, headaches, blurred vision and other symptoms that weren't attributed to the West Nile virus. She was released a week later, but diagnosed with the virus when she was re-admitted Sept. 24, the paper reported.
The woman gave birth at full-term in November, and tests on her daughter's spinal fluid and umbilical cord blood showed a West Nile infection, said Dr. Lloyd Novick, Onondaga County health commissioner. The baby has a number of health complications, he told the paper.
The baby's life is not in danger, but the virus or its complications may have caused problems affecting the infant's central nervous system, according to county health officials. Officials would not release the identity of the baby girl being treated at Crouse Hospital, or her mother, recovering out of the hospital.
Federal officials planned to announce the case Thursday.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site on Wednesday, there was no evidence that West Nile virus can be transmitted during pregnancy or birth.
The CDC has documented six cases of West Nile in pregnant women. None of the women or children died. A case of West Nile in a Michigan infant was attributed to breastfeeding from the mother, infected with the virus through a blood transfusion shortly after giving birth, according to the CDC.
"We're not recommending screening of pregnant mothers," said Novick, whose department reported the Syracuse case to the CDC. "But since this is the first time this has happened, people have to be clinically aware of the possibility in the future."
This year, the United States suffered the biggest reported outbreak of West Nile encephalitis in the world, killing 232 people across the country, federal officials said. The virus spread by mosquitos first showed up in New York in 1999, striking crows, then people.