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Pregnant women warned about Zika virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is out with a warning for pregnant women: Do not travel to certain places in the Caribbean and Central and South America because of a virus linked to birth defects.

For the first time, a baby was born with the Zika virus in the U.S. this week.

After hearing about the virus, Christine Arce-Yee canceled a babymoon to Aruba -- a final getaway before the birth of her first child.

"I'm 14 weeks pregnant," Arce-Yee told CBS News. "I don't think mothers ever want to take that chance."

The mosquito-borne illness can cause a birth defect if the mother is infected during pregnancy.

The first U.S. case of a baby infected in the womb was reported Friday in Hawaii. Officials say the mother likely contracted Zika while living in Brazil, where 1.5 million were infected last year.

More than 3,100 women there had babies with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains -- a condition known as microcephaly.

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In this Dec. 23, 2015 photo, Dejailson Arruda holds his daughter Luiza at their house in Santa Cruz do Capibaribe, Pernambuco state, Brazil. Luiza was born in October with a rare condition, known as microcephaly. Luiza's mother Angelica Pereira was infected with the Zika virus after a mosquito bite.
AP

That's why the CDC is advising pregnant women to avoid travel to 14 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, Mexico and Haiti.

"The virus has reached epidemic proportions," said Dr. Nikos Vasilakis, associate professor of pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

"We need to educate women when they travel in the endemic areas," Vasilakis said. "Because these viruses can lurk in our body without us knowing it, and, inadvertently and unwillingly, we can introduce them in our country."

Zika has not been transmitted in the U.S. Symptoms are usually mild including fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.

Although the virus has not been detected in Aruba, Arce-Yee won't risk her baby's health.

"Just thinking about it upsets me," she said. "I couldn't -- I just couldn't."

The CDC urges those who do travel to the affected areas to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and long pants and using insect repellent because there is no vaccine to protect against the virus.