Utah resident who had been infected with
Zika dies: health officials
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[July 09, 2016]
By Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention has confirmed that a Utah resident's death last
month is the first Zika-related death in the continental United States,
the CDC said in an emailed statement.
Health officials in the Salt Lake County health department in Utah
reported the death on Friday of an elderly resident who had been
infected with the Zika virus while traveling to an area with active
transmission of the virus.
The exact cause of death is not known, the health department said in a
The resident had an undisclosed health condition and had tested positive
for the Zika virus. County health officials said it may not be possible
to determine how the Zika infection contributed to the person's death.
The resident was not identified.
The Zika virus typically causes mild illness with symptoms lasting for
several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Many
people infected with Zika have no symptoms.
In April, the CDC reported the first U.S. death from Zika occurring in a
patient infected with the virus in Puerto Rico. The man, who was in his
70s, died from severe thrombocytopenia, a bleeding disorder caused by
abnormally low blood platelets, which are needed for blood clotting.
Zika is spread primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito,
however, the virus can also be spread through sexual transmission.
There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika.
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Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in
Campinas, Brazil, February 2, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File
Health officials are most concerned about Zika infections in
pregnant women because the virus has been shown to cause
microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. The connection
between Zika and microcephaly first came to light last fall in
Brazil, which has now confirmed more than 1,600 cases of
microcephaly that it considers to be related to Zika infections in
The World Health Organization has said there is strong scientific
consensus that Zika can also cause Guillain-Barre, a rare
neurological syndrome that causes temporary paralysis in adults.
(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Leslie Adler and Bernard
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