An elderly woman from Utah has become the first person to die after contracting the deadly Zika virus, Fox News reports. The woman, whose identity has not been disclosed, died late last month, confirmed authorities from the Salt Lake County Health Department. The department also issued a statement on their official Facebook page with details of the infection. The statement confirms that there is no threat of anyone contracting a Zika virus infection in Utah — and adds that the infected person had traveled to a region known to harbor mosquitoes that spread the virus. Officials also added that the woman also suffered from another health issue and that the exact cause of death is still being investigated.
Utah resident dies after contracting Zika virus: While the exact cause is unclear, it marks the first death r… https://t.co/KiUaBgVDgF
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An excerpt from the statement read as follows.
“While this individual did test positive for Zika virus, the exact cause of death has not been determined, and it may not be possible to determine how the Zika infection contributed to the death. Due to health privacy laws, health officials will not release further details about the individual or the individual’s travel history.”
In case the death turns out to have been caused by the virus, it would become the first Zika virus-related death to be reported from the continental United States.
To reassure local residents living in the state, the Salt Lake County Health Department went on to add that there is no threat of an infection there. Dr. Ari Faraji, manager of the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District released a statement.
“The exotic mosquito species [Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus] capable of transmitting Zika virus are not found along the Wasatch Front. In fact, so far this season, we have not detected those two species anywhere in Utah.”
Dr. Dagmar Vitek, medical director for the Salt Lake County Health Department described the incident as an unfortunate situation.
“This unfortunate situation is a tragic reminder of how important it is to receive proper pre-travel education and to protect yourself from mosquitoes when traveling abroad. In addition to Zika, travelers need to be mindful of other diseases found around the world, including mosquito-borne illnesses like Dengue fever, malaria, and chikungunya.”
The health Department held a press conference that talked about the Zika virus related death. We have embedded the video of the same below.
The news of the first death caused by a Zika virus infection comes just a few days after the U.S. Senate failed to pass a $1.1 billion proposal for funding Zika virus prevention measures. Meanwhile, the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also stepped in and in order to stem the spread of the virus across the U.S. announced that it would award $25 million to various states to help 53 Zika virus-affected areas to fight the virus. A few days ago, there were also reports about the birth of a child that seems to have a medical condition caused after the mother contracted the virus.
On June 7, the Inquisitr wrote about an “interim guidance update” issued by The World Health Organization (WHO) on the prevention of sexual transmission of the Zika virus. In the update, they recommended people living in Zika virus-affected regions to consider delaying pregnancy. With an increasing number of babies with birth defects like microcephaly being born in the region, this was one of the key recommendations by the WHO in order to prevent the birth of such children. The update also went on to add that the number of Zika virus infections through sexual contact was much higher than what was initially thought.
[Image:AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan, File]