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US Reports Its First Zika-Related Death

  • VOA News

FILE - Puerto Rico Health Department workers monitor social media for Zika-related issues at the department's headquarters in San Juan.

FILE - Puerto Rico Health Department workers monitor social media for Zika-related issues at the department's headquarters in San Juan.

The first death on U.S. territory related to the mosquito-borne Zika virus has been reported.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that a Puerto Rican man in his 70s died from internal bleeding related to a rare immune reaction to a Zika virus infection in late February.

Officials said the man, who was not identified, recovered from the initial Zika symptoms but then developed a condition in which antibodies that formed in reaction to the infection started attacking blood platelets.

Three similar Zika-related deaths have been reported in Colombia.

Puerto Rico has been facing a widespread Zika outbreak for several months. The CDC reported that there were 683 lab-confirmed current or recent Zika infections between November 1 and April 15. At least 65 of those infected were pregnant women. Seventeen patients required hospitalization

Zika-related deaths in adults are considered extremely rare. The virus causes only a mild, brief illness at worst in most people. But infections in pregnant women have been linked to a brain defect and fetal deaths and have become an international public health concern.

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