Since the beginning of the Zika virus outbreak in November 2015, Puerto Rico has had 683 cases of virus that have been laboratory-confirmed or presumed positive, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of the 683 Zika virus cases, 64% were found in women, with 65 cases occurring in pregnant women. The median age of patients was 34 years old. The most common symptoms were rash, myalgia, headache, fever, and arthralgia, all seen in more than 60% of patients. Hospitalization was required for 17 patients, and 1 death occurred due to complications from a severe thrombocytopenia. The data covers the time period of Nov. 1, 2015 to April 14, 2016.
Cases of Zika virus were negligible until the final week of November 2015, and rose slowly until spiking dramatically at the beginning of February 2016. Since early February, incidence of Zika has not fallen below 40 cases a week. Between Nov. 1, 2015 and April 14, 2016, there have been 110 cases of dengue and 61 cases of chikungunya reported, and neither had an incidence greater than 25 cases a week.
“Although Zika virus–associated deaths are rare, the first identified death in Puerto Rico highlights the possibility of severe cases, as well as the need for continued outreach to raise health care providers’ awareness of complications that might lead to severe disease or death,” the CDC investigators wrote. “To ensure continued blood safety, blood collection resumed with a donor screening program for Zika virus infection, and all units screened positive are removed.”
Find the full report in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6517e2)