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Zika virus claims first death on US soil in Salt Lake Valley

The Zika virus claimed its first death on U.S. soil in Salt Lake County.

The infected person died in late June after traveling to an area of the world where mosquitoes are known to spread the virus, according to Deseret News.

Health officials said although the exact cause of death was not determined, the deceased person tested positive for Zika virus, and it was considered a leading factor in the person’s death, according to Deseret News.

Health officials said the individual’s travel history is not available and cannot be released due to privacy laws, according to Deseret News.

Dr. Ari Faraji, manager of the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District, said although the first confirmed Zika-related death in the continental U.S. occurred in Utah, there is currently no threat of Zika virus infection from mosquitoes spreading in the Salt Lake Valley, according to Deseret News.

“The exotic mosquito species capable of transmitting the Zika virus are not found along the Wasatch Front,” Faraji said, according to Deseret News. “In fact, so far this season, we have not detected those two species anywhere in Utah.”

In parts of the U.S. where mosquitoes are prone to carry the Zika virus, health officials have not found Zika-carrying mosquitos among them, according to Deseret News.

Dagmar Vitek, medical director for the Salt Lake County Health Department, said cases of the Zika virus in the U.S. have all come from individuals traveling to other countries where the virus is prevalent, according to Deseret News.

“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,” Vitek said, according to Deseret News.

For updated information on which countries pose Zika-related travel risks, visit the “Areas with Zika” webpage of CDC.gov.

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