SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Health Department announced on Friday the first death on the island associated with the Zika virus.
The first Zika death was a 70-year-old man who died in February of thrombocytopenia (an abnormally low blood platelet count) associated with that virus, Puerto Rican Health Secretary Ana Rius told a press conference.
“This fatality is due to the Zika virus. Here we can’t say there were other factors...No. This fatality was due to the Zika,” Rius said during the press conference, during which she noted that the man lived in the San Juan metropolitan area and that he went to the hospital because he had a fever.
Meanwhile, according to existing data, up to now 14 women who were infected with the virus during pregnancy have given birth to healthy babies, though Zika has been linked to birth defects in Brazil.
Up to now, according to data provided Friday by the state emergency management agency, 2,414 expectant mothers on the island have given permission to have their homes fumigated, though as yet only 886 have been fumigated.
In addition, over a million tires have been collected and all the cemeteries on the island have been cleaned and sprayed with herbicides.
According to the health secretary, “Puerto Rico is a safe place to travel,” though she acknowledged that “the only way we have to lower the incidence of Zika is by prevention and protection.”