On the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued interim travel guidance for travelers, particularly pregnant women, to countries and territories in Central and South America and the Caribbean that have local transmission of Zika virus, Hawaii health officials reported a past Zika virus infection in a baby recently born with microcephaly in a hospital on Oahu.

Image/National Atlas of the United States
Image/National Atlas of the United States

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has received laboratory confirmation from the CDC Friday. Health officials believe the mother likely had Zika infection when she was residing in Brazil in May 2015 and her newborn acquired the infection in the womb.

Neither the baby nor the mother are infectious, and there was never a risk of transmission in Hawaii.

To date, there have been no cases of Zika virus acquired in Hawaii. Since 2014, the department has identified six persons in the state who acquired their infection in another country.

“We are saddened by the events that have affected this mother and her newborn,” said DOH State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “This case further emphasizes the importance of the CDC travel recommendations released today. Mosquitos can carry serious diseases, as we know too well with our current dengue outbreak and it is imperative that we all Fight the Bite by reducing mosquito breeding areas, avoiding places with mosquitos, and applying repellant as needed.”

“In this situation, an astute Hawaii physician recognized the possible role of Zika virus infection, immediately notified the Department of Health, and worked with us to confirm the suspected diagnosis,” said Dr. Park. “We rely on our exceptional medical community to be our eyes and ears in the field to control and prevent the spread of illness in Hawaii.”