Friday, August 17, 2018
Health

First baby delivered in Florida with Zika-related microcephaly

Doctors have delivered the first baby in Florida with Zika-related microcephaly, state health officials said Tuesday.

The child's mother is a Haitian citizen who contracted the mosquito-borne virus while in her home country, the Department of Health said. She came to Florida to give birth.

It was not announced where in the state the baby was born.

As of Monday, 223 people in Florida, including 40 pregnant women, have been diagnosed with Zika. All of the cases are travel-related, meaning the people contracted the virus while traveling overseas or had sexual intercourse with someone who had recently traveled abroad.

Most people who contract the Zika virus don't know they have it. If a pregnant woman passes the virus to her developing fetus, however, it can cause the baby to be born with microcephaly, an irreversible condition marked by a small head and an underdeveloped brain.

Tuesday's news prompted Republican Gov. Rick Scott to seek additional guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

"I have requested the 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," he said in a statement. "The Olympics will begin in less than 40 days and millions of Americans will travel through our state to and from Brazil, a country where the Zika virus is rapidly spreading, and we must be prepared."

Scott also renewed his call for Congress to release additional funding for Zika prevention. Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a $1.1 billion Zika virus funding package because they contended it did not provide enough spending and included politically motivated language aimed at Planned Parenthood and environmental regulations.

The funding package, which was passed by the House last week and attached to a larger bill providing funding for veterans and military construction programs, was negotiated by House and Senate Republicans in recent weeks after Democrats abandoned bipartisan talks due to the spending cuts included in the legislation and what they viewed as "poison pill" political provisions, according to Democratic aides.

"Now that a baby has been born in our state with adverse impacts from Zika, it is clear that every available resource is needed to prevent local transmissions in our state," Scott said.

Last week, the governor signed an executive order dedicating more than $26 million in state funding for mosquito control and abatement and other readiness measures.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at [email protected] or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.

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