A few years ago, a friend’s sister called to say she had an attack of cyst-like symptoms.
It turned out the culprit was a nasty virus, one that had been spreading rapidly through the Caribbean.
The virus had been linked to a series of high-profile deaths, including the killing of a Puerto Rican doctor who had been caring for patients with cystic fibrosis.
The death of another doctor, Luis Gonzalez, in Mexico in 2015 was blamed on the virus.
Gonzalez, a Cuban-American, was found dead after a three-day stay in Mexico, where he had been treating patients with the illness.
The virus was found to be the culprit.
Two weeks later, a woman with a rare type of kidney disease in Texas died from the virus, too.
It is unclear what role the virus played in her death.
“There’s no question the virus was involved in this, and it’s very important to be aware of the viruses presence,” said Dr. Steven Fauci, a kidney expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“The only way to stop this outbreak is to identify it and isolate it.”
Some health officials believe the virus is still alive and active in Puerto Rico.
The island’s health officials said they are now working to contain the virus and prevent future outbreaks.
“We have to do everything we can to reduce the virus presence in Puerto Ricans population so that the virus doesn’t continue to spread,” Puerto Rico Health Secretary Maria A. Fernández de la Cruz said in a statement.