Zika Virus Update: First Ever Zika-Related Death in United States Reported in Utah

By Katherine Pine, Parent Herald July 11, 10:13 am

The first Zika-related death in the United States has been reported in Utah and it was stated that the deceased was an elderly patient.

Health officials said that the death was recorded at the end of June and is the first ever Zika-related death in the continental United States. The resident is from Salt Lake County in Utah and has not been identified. The patient has also traveled to an undisclosed destination where the virus has spread like wildfire.

Dr. Dagmar Vitek, the medical director for the Salt Lake County Department of Health, added that the person had an underlying medical condition and tested positive for the virus adding that Zika contributed to the resident's death. Vitek added, "It may not be possible to determine how the Zika infection contributed to the death."

Gary Edwards, the executive director of the Salt Lake County Department of Health, also said that Zika virus was only determined after the death certificate was reviewed. Laboratory confirmation of the virus came back only after the resident died. Edwards cited health privacy laws that is why no additional information about the deceased patient was not released.

Tech Times also reported that the Utah resident displayed symptoms related to Zika such as rashes fever, and conjunctivitis.

This is the first time that a Zika-related death was recorded in continental United States but is not the first death to occur in a U.S. territory. Last April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that a patient died in Puerto Rico. The man was in his 70s and died from internal bleeding due to developing severe thrombocytopenia, which pertains to abnormally low levels of platelets.

All of the Zika-related cases in the United States are not locally transmitted and they are said to be travel-associated. A total of 1,132 cases have been recorded in the United States.

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