WASHINGTON, May 13, 2016 — The March of Dimes released today the following statement from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Edward R.B. McCabe regarding first reported case of microcephaly caused by Zika virus exposure in an infant born in Puerto Rico:
“Our hearts go out to the family whose infant developed severe microcephaly because the mother was infected with Zika virus during pregnancy. To our knowledge this is the first child with microcephaly caused by Zika in Puerto Rico.
“Sadly, this is not likely to be the last case of Zika-caused microcephaly in the United States. As summer approaches, there is a very real threat that Zika virus could gain a foothold in the United States. If that happens, great numbers of pregnant women and women of childbearing age will be at risk for Zika infection.
“The March of Dimes and a coalition of dozens of prominent health-related organizations have called upon the U.S. Congress to provide emergency funding immediately to combat Zika virus. With every passing week of delay, it becomes less likely that funds – even if passed – can make a meaningful difference this summer. Puerto Rican authorities are doing the best they can with the limited resources available to them, but we are seeing the consequences of political indecision on the public’s health.
“The dreadful consequences of inaction will be borne by the most vulnerable: our nation’s infants and their families. Once again, the March of Dimes urges Congress to act immediately to provide the resources needed to prevent the Zika virus from becoming endemic in the United States.”