MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Florida health officials have confirmed the first case of a baby born with microcephaly in the state after his mother contracted the Zika virus.
Microcephaly is a birth defect in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head leading to incomplete brain development.
On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health said the mother who gave birth in Florida had contracted the virus while in Haiti. It is unclear if she contracted it through a mosquito or sexual contact.
After the confirmation of the case, Florida Governor Rick Scott called on the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to host a call with the state’s medical professionals. The state is considered the front-line in the fight against the spread of the virus in the U.S.
“It is heartbreaking to learn that a baby has been born with Zika-related microcephaly in our state,” said Scott in a statement. “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.”
Scott later confirmed there are 187 cases of the Zika virus in Florida, as of Tuesday.
The news comes a little more than a month before the Olympics in Brazil. It’s a time when millions are expected to travel through Florida to and from Brazil – a country struggling to deal with the spread of the virus – to get to the games.
“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, ” said Scott.
Last week the governor allocated $26.2 million in state funds for Zika preps and prevention after he says Washington failed to approve funding to fight the spread of the virus in the U.S.
“Washington must also recognize that Zika is not just a Florida issue, but a national emergency. Florida has continued to step-up and fund issues when the federal government has failed to show up and Washington has to stop playing politics with the health, safety and well-being of Florida’s families,” said Scott.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio also issued a statement on the matter saying in part, “Shame on Washington for failing to pass Zika funding. We’ve been on top of this issue for five months, and it’s a failure of both parties in this town, including the President of the United States, that it’s taken this long to even get to this point.”
As Zika continues to spread, there is increasing concern among pregnant women in South Florida.
“There will be increasing concern as times goes on now that we are in the summer months and there is a much greater mosquito population,” Dr. Sasha Lazarus, Chairman of the OBGYN of Broward Health Medical Center told CBS4’s Joan Murray.
As for the family of the infant, Florida health officials are working with them to connect the child to services through the Early Steps Program.
“I want to emphasize that we are ensuring that mother and baby have access to all the services that they need,” said Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip.
Amid fears the virus could soon make its way to the continental United States, experts say we can all do our part in preventing the spread starting in our own homes. Click here for tips on how to prevent the spread of Zika.
Click here for more information on the Zika virus.