33 U.S. Military Personnel Contract Zika

By Cooper, Helene | International New York Times, August 5, 2016 | Go to article overview

33 U.S. Military Personnel Contract Zika


Cooper, Helene, International New York Times


Military officials said the disease had been found in men and women serving abroad, including a pregnant woman.

More than 30 active-duty American service members -- including a pregnant woman -- have contracted the mosquito-borne Zika virus in countries where the disease has been identified, Pentagon officials said.

Maj. Ben Sakrisson, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Wednesday that the Defense Department had been tracking Zika in military personnel abroad since January and that the number had reached 33 this month.

Pentagon officials did not identify the countries where the service members had contracted the virus but said that they had all been previously identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as places where mosquitoes with the disease were present.

The Pentagon has informed service members in affected areas to take precautions, Major Sakrisson said, and pregnant women in affected areas are being given the option of relocating. Military personnel in affected areas are advised to use insect repellent and to wear appropriate clothing.

The news was first reported on Monday by Military Times.

As of July 26, the C.D.C. was reporting active Zika virus transmissions in most of Central and South America with the exception of Chile and Uruguay, as well as in Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, the Marshall Islands, American Samoa and Fiji. The C.D.C. was also reporting active Zika transmissions in Cape Verde, off the coast of Senegal.

The Army is working with outside scientists to develop a Zika vaccine, military officials said.

Last month a congressional measure to help fund the Zika response died amid bickering between Democrats and Republicans and despite agreement that the virus, which can cause serious birth defects, is a public health emergency. It failed after House Republicans refused to accept a bipartisan compromise reached in the Senate and inserted clauses that reignited old disputes over government financing for Planned Parenthood. …

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