Mother Discusses Fears for Child Born With Zika-Related Birth Defects

Baby girl has calcification in brain and eye damage from virus.

— -- A Venezuelan woman who gave birth in the U.S. to a daughter with birth defects related to Zika infection, said she is frustrated that there is so little known about the long-term effects of the virus.

Maria Fernanda Ramirez Bolivar spoke to reporters today at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, as her infant daughter Micaela spent most of the time sleeping in her arms.

"The Zika is like a moving target as new information comes out," Gonzalez said. "We decided to go ahead and look for abnormalities."

After doing further tests with a variety of specialists, they found the infant had calcification in her brain and eye damage on her retina. Doctors will continue to monitor the child to see if she develops other issues related to Zika infection in utero.

Bolivar spoke about the fear she felt while pregnant and her frustration in being unable to know more about her daughter's prognosis.

"They keep telling her we don’t know because the virus is too new," Gonzalez said, translating Bolivar's words for reporters. "She’s thankful the baby was born here and the baby has been a blessing for her."

Dr. Delia Rivera-Hernandez, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the University of Miami Health System, said the infant may be at risk for developing hearing loss or issues with motor skills, but so far doctors haven't found any extreme developmental issues. Rivera-Hernandez said since the infant is so young, she may be able to bounce back from the brain damage.

"We have faith because of plasticity the brain of the young child can regenerate," Rivera-Hernandez said. "Some of the damage if not reversed can at least be compensated -- that’s our hope."