Pentagon reports 33 members of military contracted Zika overseas

Posted Aug 3, 2016 by Karen Graham
On Monday, a pentagon spokesperson said 33 active-duty members of the U.S. military have contracted the Zika virus while overseas. Additionally, six family members have also contracted the virus.
Capt. Maritzabel Gonzalez  the Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic deputy chief of Preventive Medicine  ins...
Capt. Maritzabel Gonzalez, the Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic deputy chief of Preventive Medicine, inspects a mosquito under a microscope to determine the species at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland in July.
Rachel Ponder/U.S. Army
Army Major Roger Cabiness, a spokesman for the Defense Department also noted that one service member, a female was pregnant. Current pentagon health policies allow a pregnant female service member to move out of countries where the Zika virus exists. The pentagon had no information on the health of the mother or the unborn child, citing privacy laws.
Additionally, according to the spokesman, six people with military personnel in their families have also contracted the virus. He could not say how many were still sick or how many had returned to the United States. The major said the numbers were current as of Friday, reports CNN.
The pentagon did not specify the countries where the virus was contracted by military members, but the virus has spread through much of Latin America and the Caribbean since its discovery in Brazil in May 2015. The Zika virus's link to birth defects by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) led to the World Health Organization declaring it a global emergency.
The Defense Department has taken steps to monitor and control the mosquito populations responsible for carrying the Zika virus. This has resulted in finding over 200 populations of Zika carrying mosquitoes in stateside military installations, from Texas in the west, to Florida and as far north as New York, says the pentagon.
"The DOD is actively testing mosquitoes for Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. as part of our ongoing integrated vector control and surveillance programs at bases and installations," Cabiness said.