BRAZIL – Brazil’s Health Ministry confirmed Thursday the death of a third adult due to the Zika virus.
Although the 20-year-old woman in the northern state of Rio Grande do Norte died in April 2015, the results of tests were just revealed.
The country’s first adult death due to Zika occurred in November, when a 35-year-old man died in city of Sao Luis de Maranhao.
The victim, who had suffered from lupus, arthritis and alcoholism, had a weakened immune system which was unable to fight the Zika virus.
The second case, also confirmed in November, was a 16-year-old teenager who died in October in the northwestern state of Para.
She was first hospitalized with symptoms of dengue before it was confirmed that she was infected with Zika. However, her platelet count soon plummeted and she died of a hemorrhage.
Zika only rarely kills teenagers and adults, with a mere 20 percent of infected adults showing any symptoms. However, Zika is thought to have killed so far up to 76 babies in Brazil. All of them died with microcephaly after their mothers contracted Zika.
Authorities are racing to assess whether Zika can cause microcephaly. Investigations into the over 4,000 reported cases of microcephaly have so far only confirmed that 17 of them were linked to Zika, while 709 cases have been ruled out.