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Puerto Rico reports elderly victim infected with Zika dies

/ 07:39 AM August 06, 2016

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Health officials announced Friday that an elderly person infected with Zika has died in Puerto Rico as the US territory battles what federal authorities call a silent epidemic.

The victim was a 75-year-old man who was hospitalized and died from health ailments unrelated to Zika, according to Health Secretary Ana Rius. She said no more details would be provided, and health officials did not respond to requests for further comment.

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Officials with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they would soon provide comment.

The first Zika-related death was reported in late April and involved a 70-year-old man from the San Juan metro area. He suffered internal bleeding after developing a condition in which antibodies that formed in response to a Zika infection began attacking blood platelet cells. At the time, Rius said there were three other cases of the condition known as severe thrombocytopenia and that those patients recovered.

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Puerto Rico has a total of 8,776 Zika cases, with 1,480 new cases reported this past week. There are now 901 pregnant women with Zika, which has been linked to severe birth defects. The director of the CDC has said he is concerned many of those women could give birth to babies with microcephaly. However, Rius said all 95 of pregnant women with Zika who have given birth have healthy babies.

A total of 88 people in Puerto Rico have been hospitalized because of Zika, and 27 have been diagnosed with a temporary paralysis condition called Guillain-Barre that has been linked to the mosquito-borne virus.

The CDC recently urged Puerto Rico to spray with the insecticide naled, which was used this week in a Miami neighborhood. However, Puerto Rico’s governor did not authorize naled’s use because of health and environmental concerns. Instead, he said the government would use Bti, an organic larvicide.

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TAGS: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, death, Health, Puerto Rico, Virus, Zika
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