Florida health officials confirm 84 pregnant women test positive for Zika virus

Doctors urged to test all pregnant women for virus

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida health officials confirmed Thursday in their daily report that 84 pregnant women have tested positive for the Zika virus in the state.

Doctors who spoke at a "Zeroing in on Zika: From the Front Lines" forum Thursday said they have asked each woman to go public about their diagnosis and discuss their concerns, but only one has agreed to do so.

The University of Miami is taking a leading role in dealing with the Zika virus outbreak, launching the Zika Global Network.

Doctors said they expect to see an influx of Florida babies born to mothers who contracted the virus in about five or six months.

The forum came a day after doctors confirmed that a baby was born with microcephaly at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

In total, 15 pregnant women who have delivered at the hospital have tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus, Dr. Christine Curry said.

Those women are being monitored by doctors at the hospital.

"Zika is a thing. Zika is real, and while we don't understand it fully, that is not a reason to dismiss its impact," Curry said Wednesday at a Miami Beach Commission meeting.

So far, there have been 604 travel-related infections confirmed in the state and 56 locally acquired cases, with the majority being contracted in Miami-Dade County.

Pregnant women who live in or have to traveled to South Florida are urged to wear insect repellent, long clothing and limit their time outdoors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged doctors in Florida to test all pregnant women for the virus, and pregnant women can also contact their local county health department for a Zika risk assessment and testing hours and information.  

Health officials said they have monitoring pregnant women "with evidence of Zika regardless of (their) symptoms."

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.