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The US has had its first death from the Zika virus


Zika is not usually fatal. (frankieleon / Flickr)

The US has experienced its first death from the Zika virus. The victim was a 70-year-old Puerto Rican man who died from "complications" stemming from the virus.

Tyler Sharp of the Centers for Disease Control summed up the situation.

"A few days after his recovery, he returned to the hospital with signs of a bleeding disorder and was diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP. That's a disorder where a person's immune system attacks the blood cells, called platelets, that allow clotting."

The Zika doesn't normally kill, but it can cause microcephaly--a condition where a baby is born with a smaller than usual head--in unborn fetuses, and temporary blindness in other cases. The Zika can also be sexually transmitted.

Puetro Rico, an impoverished US territory, is the most susceptible to the mosquito-born pandemic sweeping the Americas.

Fortunately, the first commercial test for the Zika virus will soon be available in the US. People who worry they may have the disease can simply visit a hospital for a blood test.

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The US has had its first death from the Zika virus

Dieter Holger

Dieter is an associate editor at Kicker who loves discussing dolphins and politics. On top of Kicker, he's a HuffPost campus editor. He has a bachelor's of philosophy from UC Santa Cruz and is studying for a masters of computational journalism at Cardiff University. Follow him on Twitter @dieterholger.

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