CAY HILL--A baby born at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) to a mother from a neighbouring island is believed to be the first suspected case of Zika-related microcephaly in the country.
The Daily Herald understands that the baby was delivered at SMMC during the course of Saturday. The mother of the baby travelled from Saba to St. Maarten recently to deliver here. The mother is said to have been very surprised and shocked about her newborn, since there was no indication of the condition of her baby during prenatal care.
This newspaper was unable to reach SMMC Head of Patient Care Anthony “Tony” Pantophlet on Sunday for information on the suspected case.
SMMC Medical Director Dr. Felix Holiday said he was not at the hospital and he will be inquiring about the details today, Monday. He said also that it is against SMMC's policy to share the medical information of patients, and noted once information is properly reviewed he will update accordingly.
In an invited comment Health Minister Emil Lee said on Sunday that he was travelling and hadn’t heard of the case, but said he will check into it.
The gender of the baby could not be ascertained and it also could not be ascertained at what stage the mother contracted the virus.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there is scientific consensus that the Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly. Microcephaly is a congenital malformation resulting in smaller than normal head size for age and sex in infants. It has also been associated with other birth defects and neurologic conditions in children and adults.
For infants diagnosed with microcephaly, head size correlates with underlying brain size. However, these measurements do not consistently predict long term sequelae. Neurologic sequelae may include seizures, vision or hearing problems, and developmental disabilities. Symptoms vary with the extent of brain disruption.
Microcephaly is diagnosed when an infant’s head is smaller than expected as compared to infants of the same age (or gestational age) and sex. For the purpose of evaluating an infant for possible congenital Zika virus infection, microcephaly is defined as occipitofrontal circumference less than the third percentile, based on standard growth charts for sex, age, and gestational age at birth.
For a diagnosis of microcephaly to be made, the occipitofrontal circumference should be disproportionately small in comparison with the length of the infant and not explained by other etiologies (e.g., other congenital disorders).