A pregnant teenager diagnosed with the Zika virus on Monday has decided to keep her baby.
Sara Mujica, 17, went to visit her fiancé Victor Cruz, 19, in Honduras earlier this year and returned home to Danbury, Connecticut on March 30, pregnant with a fever and rashes all over her body.
Mujica, who was told she would never conceive after she contracted meningitis at the age of 15, considered an abortion but maintained a positive outlook, calling the pregnancy a ‘big miracle’.
Mujica found out she was pregnant on March 14, despite doctors telling her she was infertile after coming down with meningitis, the inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
The teenager started showing symptoms of the virus just four days before, with rashes appearing all over her legs, arms and face, while she came down with a fever.
Mujica feared for the worst, given headline news surrounding the Zika virus, but thought it could have been chicken pox.
The 17-year-old, who has since flown back to the Honduras to be with her fiance, is advised to return home to seek treatment, but she says she doesn’t have enough money to change her return flight, which is scheduled for July.
The couple plan to marry in the upcoming weeks so Cruz can accompany his partner back to the states. They are also trying to raise money through a GoFundMe page.
It is unclear whether Cruz is also infected with Zika.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus has been linked to hundreds of cases of microcephaly in countries such as Brazil, which has declared a public health emergency over the disease.
The birth defect is marked by babies born with brain abnormalities and undersized heads.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Helsinki have also linked Zika to the increased risk of an unborn baby suffering brain damage.
In March, the CDC issued guidelines for couples, saying those who are trying to conceive should use condoms every time or abstain from sex for six months if the man had confirmed illness or Zika symptoms.
And if a male partner has visited a region affected by Zika but did not fall ill – or if a woman has confirmed Zika or exhibited symptoms – a couple should wait at least eight weeks before trying to conceive.
US health officials said at the time that the new guidelines were based on the current understanding of how long Zika persists in blood or semen – and then tripling the time.