Fayette County

False alarm: Lexington baby does not have Zika virus


A Lexington baby previously thought to have the Zika virus does not have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The case was reported last month to be the first labaratory-confirmed Zika infection in Lexington, based on testing by the CDC.

But the CDC said further laboratory testing showed that the infant is not infected, according to a news release from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

The baby, who was not publicly identified, was thought to have been exposed to the virus while in the womb. The child’s mother had traveled during pregnancy to an area where the virus is circulating. She never had symptoms of the illness, but the CDC initially said antibodies to Zika were found in the baby that suggested that the mother had been infected during an early stage of the pregnancy.

The health department said that the plaque-reduction neutralization test for Zika “is considered the definitive test for the diagnosis of Zika infection. The infant’s specimen was retested in light of evolving data. A new specimen collected from the infant also tested negative for Zika infection. The CDC and its partners revisit and update testing and clinical guidance on Zika virus as new evidence becomes available, according to CDC spokesperson Benjamin Haynes.”

The baby did not have physical abnormalities such as microcephaly, or small head size, that are associated with the virus.

Even if the baby had been infected with Zika, he or she could not have spread the virus to other people or to mosquitoes, the health department said.

So far, 20 Kentuckians have been confirmed to have contracted the Zika virus while traveling to affected areas, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services said in a news release Thursday. The CDC says there have been 2,260 cases reported in the U.S. so far.

Zika is not known to be circulating in Kentucky’s mosquito population. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has been spraying for mosquitoes if needed around the homes of people who are confirmed to have the virus, according to the health cabinet.

Pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant are being warned against traveling to affected areas, because the virus can cause serious birth defects.

Zika’s most common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, although many people who are infected do not experience any symptoms. There is no vaccine for the disease. For more information about Zika, see cdc.gov/zika/.