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May 4, 2016: The First Zika U.S. Death is Reported

An elderly gentleman from Puerto Rico died earlier this year from internal bleeding as a result of a rare immune reaction to an earlier Zika infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The condition that killed him, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, is similar to Guillain-Barré in that the Zika contamination triggered his immune system to make antibodies that attacked his own cells. In Guillain-Barré, they attack nerve cells, while in this case, they attacked the platelets, which cause the blood to clot.

Puerto Rico has 683 confirmed Zika infections in its outbreak, which began in December 2015.

Source: The New York Times

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