HARRIS COUNTY, TX (KTRK) --News that a child in Harris County has been born with the birth defect microcephaly caused by the Zika virus has increased fears for people hoping to grow their family. Doctors and researchers are just now beginning to understand how the virus affects an unborn baby, but it can cause critical complications.
"This is, unfortunately, every parent's worst nightmare," explained Dr. Peter Hotez, the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
"This is a devastating condition. I sometimes use the term neuro-devastating condition," he said. "So it stops the development of the baby's brain. So the reason you get microcephaly is because you get a massive reduction in brain matter."
VIDEO: Family shares story of girl living with microcephaly
Microcephaly is a condition when a baby is born with a smaller head and Dr. Hotez says there's no safe time for an expectant mother to be exposed to the virus.
"The trend that looks like it's happening is when mothers get infected in the first trimester of pregnancy is when they're most likely to transmit the virus to the unborn baby and that could result in microcephaly," he said.
However, he stressed women may not be in the clear in their second or third trimester. He says we could soon see more babies being born with Zika complications in the next few months.
VIDEO: Harris County reports first Zika-linked Microcephaly case in Texas