A 70-year-old man in Puerto Rico has died from complications of the Zika virus, health officials said Friday. He reportedly died from internal bleeding caused by a rare immune reaction to the virus and has become the first Zika fatality in the U.S.
“This demonstrates that, as with Guillain Barre Syndrome cases, that there can be severe manifestations that result from Zika virus infection,” the CDC’s Tyler Sharp told NBC News.
NBC News reports that the victim had a condition called thrombocytopenia. The National Library of Medicine describes it as a low platelet count that can result in bleeding. Sharp said it’s a rare but known complication of Zika and not a sign that the virus is causing worse symptoms than expected. Zika virus disease is a disease caused by the Zika virus. It is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is currently no vaccine.
The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis, also known as red eyes. Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
Zika’s spreading fast across Latin America and the Caribbean. The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico’s been hit hard, too, but this is the first fatality on American soil.