A two-game series between the Miami Marlins and the Pittsburgh Pirates scheduled to be held in Puerto Rico has been moved to Miami, Major League Baseball officials announced Friday.
Because of concerns about the Zika virus, a number of players on each team objected to playing in San Juan on May 30 and 31, so Commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to move the series.
“Commissioner Manfred and the MLBPA fully understand the disappointment by those in Puerto Rico to the relocation of the games,” the league and players union announced. “MLB and the Players Association did everything possible to adequately address the concerns raised by players and still play the games in Puerto Rico, but despite extensive efforts, they were unable to develop a workable solution.”
A 70-year-old Puerto Rican man died from complications of the Zika virus in February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Puerto Rico Department of Health said in late April. It was the first time in the United States or territories that Zika infection contributed to a death, the CDC said.
The elderly man, who lived in the San Juan metro area, contracted Zika and was treated for symptoms that lasted less than a week, said Tyler Sharp, an epidemiologist at the CDC Dengue Branch in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The CDC said in April its employees had tested over 6,000 specimens since Puerto Rico became the first U.S. jurisdiction to report local transmission of the Zika virus; 683 showed evidence of current or recent infection. Nine of those cases, or 1%, also showed signs of low blood platelets.
“Because Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to Puerto Rico protect themselves from mosquito bites.” the health agency says on its website.