The first case of microcephaly in Puerto Rico related to mosquito-borne Zika virus has been reported on May 13.
The country's health ministry validated the news, raising concerns about the spread of the virus and the difficulties that the U.S. commonwealth is facing with regards to managing the health dilemma.
"This is the first case of congenital and developmental Zika in the product of a pregnancy that are detected or reported in Puerto Rico," says Dr. Brenda Rivera, the island's chief epidemiologist.
Details Of The Infected Baby
The fetus was donated by a family, who have no recent record of travels. Rivera confirmed that after the ministry of health received the news, the fetus was identified to have severe microcephaly and brain plaques, which are common in these cases.
Although there were scarce details about the pregnancy, ultrasound test results released last week showed that the fetus had abnormalities. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the brain tissue defects of the fetus.
Zika, Microcephaly And Other Birth Defects
In April, CDC confirmed that microcephaly and other congenital anomalies among babies in Zika-affected areas were indeed because of the mosquito-borne virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also suggested a strong link between Zika virus and a rare neurological paralysis disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS).
The social services status in Puerto Rica has been tremendously slumped over the past years. Crisis after crisis led to hospitals and clinics closing and medical professionals leaving to find more financially rewarding careers.
The government is said to owe about $70 billion in debt to its creditors.
Such situation has worried the White House because it believes that the debt that the Puerto Rican government is facing could impede its ability to manage the possible health problems caused by Zika virus.
President Barack Obama has already requested $1.9 billion in funds to alleviate the crisis on the island. So far, no U.S. legislations have offered serious, significant help in the financial crisis of Puerto Rico, suggesting that humanitarian aid may be the only answer left.