A baby was recently born on Oahu with microcephaly, a disease that causes the child’s head to be smaller than it should be, which can lead to the brain not developing properly, state health officials announced Friday.

The baby likely acquired it while in the womb of the mother, who had a past Zika virus infection when she was living in Brazil in May. The virus is transmitted by mosquitos. Health officials said neither the baby nor the mother are infectious, and there was never a risk of transmission in Hawaii.

The state Department of Health received laboratory confirmation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earlier Friday, the CDC issued interim travel guidance related to the Zika virus for 14 countries and territories in Central and South America and the Caribbean. The alert urged pregnant women to avoid traveling to Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

“We are saddened by the events that have affected this mother and her newborn,” DOH state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in the release.

“This case further emphasizes the importance of the CDC travel recommendations released today,” she said. “Mosquitos can carry serious diseases, as we know too well with our current dengue outbreak and it is imperative that we all Fight the Bite by reducing mosquito breeding areas, avoiding places with mosquitos, and applying repellant as needed.”

To date, there have been no cases of Zika virus acquired in Hawaii, state health officials said.

Since 2014, the department has identified six people in Hawaii who acquired their infection in another country. Physicians are required to report all suspected cases of Zika virus and more than 75 other reportable diseases in the state, the release says.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes), the release says. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week.

Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika, the release says.

About the Author