First Zika-Related Death In The U.S. Confirmed

The first Zika-related death in the continental United States has been confirmed in Utah, The Guardian reported on Saturday.

Authorities said that the unidentified patient had traveled to an area with a Zika outbreak and had presented symptoms of the virus, including rash, fever, and conjunctivitis (a.k.a. pinkeye). Though officials said that the patient was elderly and had another health condition, they did not release any further information, citing health-privacy laws. A CDC spokesman told The Guardian that it’s still unclear if, or how, Zika contributed to the person’s death.

Though this is the first death, there have also been over 1,000 reported cases of Zika across the United States.

For most people, Zika isn’t much of a threat. The symptoms are mostly mild and flu-like: fever, rash, muscle pain, and headache. The CDC notes that many people who have Zika might not even realize it. The danger is primarily for pregnant women, as the virus is known to cause serious, even fatal, birth defects, such as microcephaly. Zika is primarily spread by the Aedes mosquito, but can also be sexually transmitted.

Last month, a baby delivered in New Jersey was confirmed to be the first child born in the United States with Zika-related birth defects. The mother, who was from Honduras, had contracted the disease there and had come to the United States to seek treatment.

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