The Florida Department of Health (FDH) confirmed the first case of a baby born with microcephaly in the state after the mother contracted the Zika virus.
According to authorities, the mother, a citizen of Haiti, had a travel-related case of Zika and came to Florida to deliver her baby.
“It is heartbreaking to learn that a baby has been born with Zika-related microcephaly in our state,” said governor Rick Scott in a statement. “I have requested the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to immediately host a call with Florida health care professionals to discuss the neurological impacts of Zika and how this virus impacts new and expecting moms.”
From West Palm Beach, where he participated in a Zika planning conference this Tuesday, Scott also said: "All of us are responsible. We have to get rid of standing water so we don't have these mosquitos breeding. If we can stop the mosquitoes, we can make sure that we don't have an expansion of Zika cases in our state."
"We would expect based on what we know from other countries that there would be more cases" of microcephaly, said Dr. Celeste Philip, Florida Surgeon General, who also was present for the meeting in West Palm Beach.
State authorities indicated that they have offered the family support through the Florida Early Steps program.
Babies with microcephaly are born with abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development, which causes them to have developmental delays, intellectual disabilities and problems with movement and balance, as well as with hearing and vision.
This is the third case reported in the United States of a baby born with Zika-related microcephaly. The two previous cases occurred in Hawaii and New Jersey.
Because of its weather and its status as an international travel destination, experts have identified Florida as one of the states most vulnerable to see a Zika epidemic. State authorities have been closely monitoring the number of cases and the FDH issues every day a briefing. Three new cases were reported yesterday: one in Broward, one in Miami-Dade and another one in Collier county. All of them were travel-related.
Here is the updated list for Zika cases by county. The list doesn't include cases of pregnant women because the FDH does not report them by county. According to the latest numbers, there are 40 pregnant women with Zika virus in the state.