And we have our first reported death in the US to the Zika virus reported in Puerto Rico.
A Puerto Rican man died from complications of the Zika virus earlier this year, the first reported death attributed to the disease in the United States.
The victim, a man in his 70s, died in February from internal bleeding as a result of a rare immune reaction to an earlier Zika infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Puerto Rico now has 683 confirmed Zika infections in its outbreak, which began in December; 89 are in pregnant women, according to Dr. Ana Ríus, the territory’s health secretary. Fourteen of those women have given birth, and all their babies are healthy, she said.
Seventeen patients have been hospitalized for Zika-related causes in Puerto Rico. Of those, seven had Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare form of paralysis that strikes about two weeks after an infection and, although frightening, is usually temporary.
The man who died was a resident of the San Juan area who fell ill withfever, rash and other typical Zika symptoms early this year, said Tyler M. Sharp, a C.D.C. epidemiologist working in Puerto Rico.
“That illness resolved,” Dr. Sharp said. “But very soon after, he had bleeding manifestations.”
He was hospitalized and died within 24 hours.
The condition that killed him, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, is similar to Guillain-Barré in that the Zika infection triggered his immune system to produce antibodies that attacked his own cells. In Guillain-Barré, they attack nerve cells, while in this case, they attacked the platelets, which cause the blood to clot.
The death was not described earlier because it took time to be sure Zika was the cause. “We had to check with family members, his personal physician and the doctors who managed him to be sure he didn’t have something else going on,” Dr. Sharp said.
I'm sure Republicans will get off their asses any time now and approve emergency funding to help fight this virus. How many more people will die in the meantime, well, hey, it's just Puerto Rico, right?
Except of course the most likely point of entry into the mainland US will be in Southern states. You might hear some concerns if things play out like they did Ebola in say, Texas a while back.