The first case of a person infected with Zika dying on Continental U. S soil has now been reported, but it’s taken some time, and the case has some questions surrounding it.
What is known is this: the deceased was an elderly patient from Utah, who had traveled abroad and contracted the illness in a Zika-infected area, and they passed away in late June. Utah authorities are refusing to release more information about the patient or where they traveled to exactly.
To be straightforward, it’s also not entirely clear whether or not the patient actually died of Zika-related causes or other complications. The Salt Lake County Health Department reported that the person did suffer from another health condition at the time of death, and it seems like it’s been hard for officials to separate the two in terms of what caused the individual to die.
Apart from that mystery, the last question mark accompanying this case is why it seems to have slipped through the cracks and remained unspoken of until officials finally stumbled upon revealing paperwork.
Here’s the scoop: according to usatoday.com, officials only found out about the death and its possible link to Zika while reviewing death certificates. No one had said ‘boo’ about it any time before that- not family, friends, doctors, no one.
Officials say they only caught on and grew suspicious when reading the description of the patient’s death. It sounded familiar and they began to think it might be Zika-related.
Lab tests later confirmed these thoughts to be correct, according to Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department.
So, the story seems to be that someone with other health complications traveled to a Zika infected area, contracted the virus, came back to the U.S and developed complications which wore down their health and something eventually killed them.
Ambiguous, but a bit scary, nonetheless.
Most inconveniently, this is happening as the present cash is running out and mosquitoes-possibly infected- are swarming in droves around porch lights into the depths of summer.
Been away for a while and not sure what the heck we’re reporting about?
The Zika virus is spread through infected mosquitoes in tropical areas and can be mild in manifestation in adults but can hinder proper brain development in unborn babies and cause haunting microcephaly.
An outbreak of the virus was declared in May 2015 in Brazil by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
It has since spread to many areas around the globe.
While transmittable sexually, most cases of Zika reported in the continental U.S have been caused by people traveling to countries experiencing an outbreak of the virus and becoming infected by a mosquito bite, like this most recent one.
According to USAtoday.com, more than 1,100 cases of the virus have been reported in continental U.S to date.