Zika had never before been suspected of causing microcephaly and was considered a fairly benign virus.
The infection was confirmed by a laboratory test conducted by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The mother was probably infected with the virus early in her pregnancy while living in Brazil in May 2015 and transmitted it to the fetus, the health department said.
It said that 26 cases of Zika infection have been diagnosed in the United States since 2007 among people who contracted the disease outside the country. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika, nor medicine to treat the infected; the only advice health officials have for travelers to the region is to prevent mosquito bites. About one in five people infected with Zika virus will develop symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (pink eye).
Dengue fever, which can violently affect adults, is transmitted by some of the same mosquitoes as Zika, though it is not thought to affect fetuses in the same way.
While the link between Zika infection in pregnancy and babies born with microcephaly has not yet been proven, mounting evidence supports the theory that there is a connection.
In Washington, D.C., administration officials said the decision to issue a travel alert developed quickly at the end of the week and triggered a flurry of diplomatic contacts with the countries named in the alert, given the potential economic and tourism impact the decision could have.
Brazil is now experiencing the largest known outbreak of Zika.
15, 2016, US health officials are telling pregnant women to avoid travel to Latin America and Caribbean countries with outbreaks of a tropical illness linked to birth defects.
The Hawaii newborn “further emphasizes the importance of the CDC travel recommendations released today”, Dr. Park said. While Brazil had an average of 156 babies born each year between 2010 and 2014 with microcephaly, 2015 saw more than 3,000 instances.
The travel alert applies to Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women advised to consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Physicians are required by the state to report any cases that may be the Zika virus or any of over 75 other reportable diseases. The list of countries with transmission has been steadily growing; on Saturday, Barbados reported its first cases. Epidemiologists pointed to warmer winters and wetter springs as some of the reasons behind recent outbreaks of West Nile virus and dengue fever in the United States.