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First Case Of Zika-Related Microcephaly Confirmed In Florida

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Governor Rick Scott (right) and Dr. Celeste Philip (left), Florida Surgeon General, presided over a Zika prevention meeting in Palm Beach.

The first case of Zika-related microcephaly was confirmed today in a child born in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The child’s mother is from Haiti and had a travel-related case of Zika. She came to Florida to deliver the baby, authorities said.

The department of health is connecting the mother and child with services through its Early Steps program.

“It is heartbreaking to learn that a baby has been born with Zika-related microcephaly in our state and my thoughts and prayers are with the mother and child,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a release.

Scott requested that the Center for Disease Control host a call with Florida health care professionals to discuss Zika.

“Last week, following Washington’s failure to approve funding for Zika preparedness, I used my emergency executive authority to allocate $26.2 million in state funds for Zika preparedness, prevention and response in Florida,” Scott said. “While these funds will be incredibly useful in our fight against the Zika virus, Washington must also recognize that Zika is not just a Florida issue, but a national emergency.”

Speaking in West Palm Beach, Scott said the state has about 8,000 test kits to screen for Zika.

"All of us are responsible. We have to get rid of standing water so we don't have these mosquitoes breeding. If we can stop the mosquitoes, we can make sure that we don't have an expansion of Zika cases in our state."

Florida Surgeon Generall Celeste Philip was also in West  Palm Beach for a Zika planning conference.

"We would expect based on what we know from other countries that there would be more cases" of microcephaly, Philip said.

Pregnant woman or couples who are trying to have a baby are encouraged to avoid traveling to areas where Zika is found, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Babies born with microcephaly have abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development. They often have other problems, including developmental delay, intellectual disabilities, issues with movement and balance, hearing loss and vision problems, according to the department of health.

Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.