First U.S. Zika-Related Death Reported In Puerto Rico

Still no vaccine to combat the outbreak

Today, Puerto Rico’s health secretary, Ana Rius, confirmed that the U.S. territory has had its first recorded death relating to the Zika virus. According to the Associated Press, Rius said a 70-year-old man who was infected with the virus died in February. His death was directly caused by a drop in blood platelets, a condition known as thrombocytopenia, that can cause internal bleeding.

This death is the first reported within the U.S. to be related to the Zika virus. Also as of today, the CDC reported that there were 683 cases of Zika in Puerto Rico from November 1st to April 15th.

While death from Zika is rare, other related conditions, including the recently confirmed link between the virus and the developmental condition, microcephaly and the neurological condition Guillain-Barre, are of increasing concern. There is currently no vaccine or treatment to combat the virus.

Claire Maldarelli
Claire Maldarelli

is the Science Editor at Popular Science. She has a particular interest in brain science, the microbiome, and human physiology. In addition to Popular Science, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, and Scholastic’s Science World and Super Science magazines, among others. She has a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology from the University of California, Davis and a master’s in science journalism from New York University's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program. Contact the author here.