SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Utah woman is the first confirmed person in the continental U.S. to die from potentially Zika-related causes, the Salt Lake County Health Department said Friday.
Earlier this year, the woman traveled to an area that was known to have Zika-infected mosquitoes. She was elderly and had an underlying health condition, according to a statement on the Salt Lake County Health Department’s Facebook page.
Her exact cause of death is unknown, but she did test positive for the virus. Officials say they may not be able to determine how the virus may have contributed to her death.
She died in late June, according to the statement. Officials will not release more details about her or her travel history due to health privacy laws.
“This unfortunate situation is a tragic reminder of how important it is to receive proper pre-travel education and to protect yourself from mosquitoes when traveling abroad,” said Dr. Dagmar Vitek, a medical director for the Salt Lake County Health Department, in a statement. “In addition to Zika, travelers need to be mindful of other diseases found around the world, including mosquito-borne illnesses like Dengue fever, malaria and chikungunya.”
The Salt Lake County Health Department offered their condolences on Twitter.
Mosquito experts assured Salt Lake City residents that there is no threat from mosquitoes in the area, according to the statement.
In other areas of the U.S. where Zika prone mosquitoes are found, officials still have not reported any Zika infections. The CDC has an updated list of areas that may contain Zika-infected mosquitoes.
If you have recently traveled abroad and are concerned about symptoms you may be experiencing, contact your health care provider.