HealthDay News — On Monday, US health officials said they were trying to determine how a now-deceased elderly Utah man who had Zika managed to infect a family caregiver.
Zika is normally spread by mosquitoes and can also be transmitted sexually. But health officials said neither appears to have played a role in this case. For one thing, the mosquitoes aren’t usually found at the altitudes where the unidentified man lived in northern Utah.
“Utah health officials confirmed today a new case of Zika,” Satish Pillai, MD, incident manager for the CDC Zika Response, said during a media briefing. “This person is associated with the family of the patient who died in late June. Based on what we know now, that person [who has since recovered] had not traveled to an area with Zika and has not had sex with someone infected with Zika or a returning traveler. In addition, there is no evidence at this time that mosquitoes that are commonly the way Zika is spread are presently in Utah.”
The deceased patient had traveled to an area outside the country where Zika is circulating and apparently contracted the virus there. Lab tests showed he had extremely high amounts of the virus in his blood — 100,000 times higher than that seen in other Zika samples, according to a CDC news release.