Officials did not disclose where the service members were stationed
At least 33 active-duty service members, including one pregnant woman, have contracted the Zika virus while serving overseas, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.
Officials did not disclose where the service members were stationed, but a defense official said all recently traveled to Zika-ridden areas. Six family members of service personnel have also contracted the virus outside of the continental United States, a Pentagon source told NBC News.
No details about the pregnant service member were provided.
The Military Times first reported the figure of 33 on Monday, and on Wednesday, it reported that 41 service members have contracted the virus.
Although all the cases are abroad, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Maj. Benjamin Sakrisson said the Defense Department is monitoring military installations in the U.S. for mosquito-borne diseases.
“[We are actively testing mosquitoes] as part of our ongoing integrated vector control and surveillance programs at bases and installations,” Sakrisson told The Military Times.
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The Pentagon said that it is working closely with federal, state and local authorities to monitor the threat of Zika to military members and their families.
“We have been taking proactive steps for months to help mitigate the threat of Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses in the continental United States and overseas,” a Pentagon statement said, according to CBS News.
Officials also said it has been taking steps to educate troops about how to protect themselves from the virus.
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued what’s been described as an unprecedented travel warning, advising pregnant women and their partners to avoid an area north of Miami, Florida, over Zika concerns. According to the CDC, there are 1,658 cases of the Zika virus in the U.S., but the four in Florida are the first to be considered locally transmitted. Most cases in the U.S. have been as a result of travel to other countries or by sexual transmission.
Many U.S. athletes have decided to skip the Olympics this summer over concerns about the Zika virus in Rio.