A baby with Zika-related microcephaly was born in Florida, Florida Department of Health officials confirmed Tuesday.
The baby is the first child to be born in Florida with the defect, which causes abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development, as a result of the Zika virus. The mother, a Haiti citizen, had a travel-related case of Zika and came to Florida to deliver her baby, officials said. Previous cases, where mothers with travel-related cases of the virus gave birth to babies with microcephaly, were reported in Hawaii and New Jersey.
The announcement comes a day after the health department officials confirmed three new cases of the virus — one in Broward, one in Collier and one in Miami-Dade counties. As of now, all 213 Florida cases are travel-related. Of those cases, 40 involve pregnant women, regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms.
Never miss a local story.
Babies with microcephaly often have a series of developmental problems, including intellectual disability, hearing loss and vision problems and problems with movement and balance. Researchers established a connection between the birth defect and the Zika virus, which is primarily transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, earlier this year.
Following the announcement, Florida Gov. Rick Scott called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to host a call with Florida medical professionals to discuss precautions for pregnant for new and expecting mothers.
“It is heartbreaking to learn that a baby has been born with Zika-related microcephaly in our state and my thought and prayers are with the mother and child,” he said in a statement.
President Barack Obama asked Congress earlier this year for $1.9 billion to combat the spread of the virus; Congress has held up his request.
Department officials said they are working to connect the mother and her child with the department’s Early Steps program, which establishes support for families with infants and toddlers who have developmental delays, or a condition that could result in a developmental delay.