41 US military members have now contracted Zika

Posted at 1:21 PM, Aug 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 13:21:06-04

WASHINGTON — CNN has learned there are now 41 members of the military who have been diagnosed with the Zika virus since testing began earlier this year.

Eight new cases have been recorded in the last week, a Pentagon official told CNN.

One of the military service members is a pregnant female. Under Pentagon health policies, female service members are permitted to move out of countries where Zika exists.

In addition, a senior State Department official told CNN there have been two confirmed Zika cases among US diplomats serving overseas. The diplomats were serving in countries where Zika has already been contracted.

The military tracks the number of cases reported among the ranks each week. Earlier Wednesday, the number stood at 33, but a new update has now been provided.

In addition, seven military dependents have been diagnosed with Zika, an increase of one case since the previous week.

The Pentagon said that all the exposures happened outside the US, but some of those who have had it or may currently have it may be in the United States, as there is no quarantine for Zika.

Even before the update, number of confirmed Zika cases in the US military nearly doubled in the last month. On June 29 there were 18 cases.

Military and diplomatic personnel are advised to follow the same rules as civilians to protect themselves in mosquito-infested areas, such as wearing appropriate clothing and using insect repellant.

The Army is collaborating with outside partners to develop a Zika virus vaccine, according to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Walter Reed is working with Sanofi Pasteur, a major vaccines developer and manufacturer.