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The first Zika-related death in the United States was reported in Puerto Rico on Friday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the man, in his 70’s, had a rare immune reaction to the virus which caused the internal bleeding that led to his death, NBC News reported.
The man had a low platelet condition called thrombocytopenia, which can result in bleeding. The CDC’s Tyler Sharp told NBC that it was a rare but known complication of Zika. “This demonstrates that, as with Guillain Barre Syndrome cases, that there can be severe manifestations that result from Zika virus infection,” he said.
The death is the first in the U.S. as the territory of Puerto Rico has been facing cases of Zika which has quickly spread across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Since November, 707 cases of Zika have been confirmed in Puerto Rico. Health officials in Puerto Rico reported that 11 percent of those tested for the disease had it. Out of more than 6,000 people tested, 683 were infected with Zika, NBC reported.
In Puerto Rico, the most common symptoms of those infected with Zika- which is spread through an infected mosquito – include rash, muscle aches, headache and fever. It can cause severe brain damage in developing babies if the pregnant mother is infected.
“Although Zika virus-associated deaths are rare,” a CDC report stated, “the first identified death in Puerto Rico highlights the possibility of severe cases, as well as the need for continued outreach to raise health care providers’ awareness of complications that might lead to severe disease or death.”
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