The first Zika-related death in the continental United States has been confirmed by the Utah officials as a resident succumbed to the mosquito-borne infection in the western state.
The Salt Lake County health department said the elderly victim, who had an underlying health condition, died in late June after traveling to a country where the Zika virus is active.
‘A resident of the western US state of Utah infected with the Zika virus has died, making it the first case of death in the Continental United States.’
Advertisement"While this individual did test positive for Zika virus, the exact cause of death has not been determined, and it may not be possible to determine how the Zika infection... contributed to the death," the health department said in a statement.
It added that the identity of the person who died or their travel history would not be released.
In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that a man in his 70s infected with the Zika virus had died from complications of the infection on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, which is part of US territory.
US health officials said earlier this week that the virus is spreading fast on the island, infecting as many as 50 pregnant women per day.
There is currently no vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus and many people infected won't have any symptoms, according to the CDC.
Pregnant women are especially vulnerable as the virus causes birth defects.