Florida confirms first Zika-tied birth
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Posted by: DCMS
The News Service of Florida
Florida has its first confirmed case of an infant born with Zika-related microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development. The Florida Department of Health announced Tuesday that the mother had contracted the mosquito-borne virus while in Haiti. The mother traveled to Florida to give birth, officials said. Gov. Rick Scott, who met with health officials in Palm Beach County on Tuesday, used the news of the state's first Zika-related birth to press the federal government for more support. Scott planned to attend a second roundtable discussion regarding Zika at the Duval County Department of Health in Jacksonville Tuesday afternoon. “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 in a press release. According to state health officials, babies with microcephaly often have a range of problems including developmental delay, intellectual disability, problems with movement and balance, hearing loss and vision problems. Scott on Tuesday also asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to host a conference call with Florida health care professionals to discuss the neurological impacts of Zika and how the virus impacts new and expecting moms. Last week, Scott issued an executive order to pump $26.2 million into the fight against the Zika virus. Scott directed state Surgeon General Celeste Philip to oversee distribution of the money to county health departments, local mosquito districts and laboratories for training, mosquito surveillance, and the purchase of Zika prevention kits from the CDC. Scott asked President Barack Obama on June 1 to use his presidential authority to release federal funds to fight Zika. The president sought $1.9 billion in Zika-related funding from Congress, but the House and Senate have been divided on how much to allocate to combat the disease. The House, which initially offered $622 million, on Thursday approved a measure matching the Senate's $1.1 billion funding proposal. But Democrats and the White House appeared to balk at the House plan, which included provisions unrelated to fighting Zika.