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N.J. septuplets lost to bacterial infection

A woman in her fifth month of pregnancy miscarried her septuplets after contracting an infection, her doctor said Tuesday.

Dr. Charles Hux said it had become clear that a bacterial infection was endangering the life of 31-year-old Ivette Zapata-Smalls of Lakewood.

"She started to lose them and we basically had to end it," Hux said. "I cut the stitch we'd put in at 10 weeks. She was obviously infected and had a 104-degree fever. The babies basically all came out. We didn't terminate it."

He said he was not certain of the cause of the infection.

Hux said Zapata-Smalls is expected to recover fully and will likely be released from the hospital this week. He said Zapata-Smalls was in good condition and will be able to have children.

"Obviously, she's very upset," Hux said.

Zapata-Smalls and her husband, Fred Smalls, 37, announced the pregnancy last week. The couple have no children. A 21-month-old daughter died in 1998.

Hux said a bacterial infection in the mother's bloodstream had invaded her womb, and the fetuses had contracted the infection. Fetuses in the womb, once infected, do not respond to antibiotics, he said.

Zapata-Smalls had been taking the fertility drug Pergonal. Such drugs frequently are associated with multiple pregnancies.