First baby with Zika-related microcephaly born in Florida

Mother came to Florida from Haiti to deliver child, health officials say

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor , Glenna Milberg - Reporter

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - The Florida Department of Health confirms the first Zika-related microcephaly birth in Florida.

The birth mother is a Haitian national who came to Florida to give birth. She was infected with the Zika virus in Haiti.

Officials will not disclose the hospital where the woman gave birth.

Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Surgeon General Celeste Philip participated in a Zika roundtable discussion in Palm Beach County Tuesday morning to discuss the issue.

"I've asked the CDC to do another phone call with all of our health care providers so they can continue to educate the public," Scott said. "You heard just in our conversation here: the most important thing is all of us are responsible. We've got to get rid of the standing water so we don't have these mosquitoes breed in our yard or anywhere we are. If we can stop the mosquitoes, we can make sure that we don't have an expansion of more Zika cases in our state."

There have previously been two other Zika-related microcephaly births in the United States, one in Hawaii and one in New Jersey, according to a DOH representative.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Zika virus typically causes a mild rash, fever and joint pain. Only one in five people infected with the virus are symptomatic, but the virus can cause serious problems for pregnant women.

"CDC recommends that women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant postpone travel to Zika affected areas," the DOH said in a statement Tuesday. "According to CDC guidance, providers should consider testing all pregnant women with a history of travel to a Zika affected area for the virus. CDC also recommends that a pregnant woman with a history of Zika virus and her provider should consider additional ultrasounds."

Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development. 

Health officials said microcephaly is usually the result of the brain developing abnormally in the womb or not growing as it should after birth.

Babies born with the defect often have a range of problems, including developmental delay, intellectual disability, problems with movement and balance, hearing loss and vision problems.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no treatment for microcephaly, but speech and occupational therapies might help enhance a child's development.

Florida health officials said Tuesday there have been 227 confirmed travel-related Zika virus cases in the state, including 40 pregnant women. Miami-Dade County leads the state with 65 confirmed cases.

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