In early March, CDC Director Dr Thomas Frieden said while visiting Puerto Rico to assess the Zika virus situation, ” We anticipate in the coming weeks and month we will see large increases of cases in Puerto Rico.”

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

The latest information on the Zika outbreak on the Caribbean Island puts the confirmed case count 697 since the beginning of the year and more than 700 including cases reported in late 2015. Of this total, 89 pregnant women have tested positive for the virus, with 3/4’s of the cases being symptomatic.

Puerto Rico also reported the first Zika virus related fatality in a 70-year-old San Juan man. According to a CNN report, “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,” Tyler Sharp, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dengue Branch in San Juan, Puerto Rico said.

“That’s a disorder where a person’s immune system attacks the blood cells, called platelets, that allow clotting. As an elderly man, this individual did have some underlying health conditions, but they were not life-threatening and not likely to have led to his death.”

Puerto Rico’s first locally acquired case of Zika virus infection was reported in late 2015. In early February, Governor Alejandro García Padilla signed an executive order declaring Zika a public health emergency.