First Zika-related microcephaly baby born in Florida

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The Florida Department of Health has confirmed the first Zika-related case of microcephaly, a severe birth defect, with a baby born in the state of Florida.

According to the department, the child’s mother has a travel-related case of Zika. The mother is a citizen of Haiti who came to Florida to deliver her baby.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was in West Palm Beach Tuesday to discuss the issue. The baby was born with a brain defect, and the health department is working with the family to provide much needed services through Florida’s Early Steps program.

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The mosquito-borne and sexually transmitted illness is especially dangerous for pregnant women and has been linked to serious birth defects, such as microcephaly.

Scott has asked the federal officials for help, but until they make a decision, he wants those at home to know that there are ways to combat the virus. “All of us are responsible,” he said. “We’ve got to get rid of the standing water so we don’t have these mosquitos breed in our yards. If we can stop the mosquitos, we can make sure we don’t have an expansion of more Zika cases in our state.”

While Brazil is currently experiencing the largest outbreak, it has spread to at least 20 other Latin American countries.

Zika’s symptoms include rash, fever, joint pain and red eyes. It currently lasts seven to 10 days.

There is a 24-hour Zika hotline in Florida to answer questions and concerns. That number is 855-622-6735.

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The Health Department has not confirmed what county the baby was born in.

According to the department, microcephaly is a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development. Babies with the defect often have a range of severe, developmental problems.

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