U.S. soldiers in South America contracted, recovered
from Zika: commander
Send a link to a friend
[March 11, 2016] WASHINGTON
(Reuters) - Two U.S. soldiers serving in South America contracted Zika
but have fully recovered and returned to duty, while a third, pregnant
service member left the region early for fear of contracting the virus,
a top U.S. commander said on Thursday.
Zika infections have been linked to thousands of birth defects as
the mosquito-borne virus spreads rapidly in Brazil and other
countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Two U.S. servicemembers stationed in Brazil and Colombia, both men,
were confirmed to have contracted Zika, said Navy Admiral Kurt Tidd,
commander of U.S. Southern Command.
"Both cases were confirmed. The cases have (been) resolved," Tidd
said in a news briefing. "They both returned to duty."
A third, pregnant service member in the region sped up her scheduled
return to the United States as a result of the Zika scare, Tidd
The U.S. military has discussed mosquito eradication with partner
militaries in the region and has provided small amounts of supplies,
including mosquito netting, Tidd said.
Much remains unknown about Zika, including whether the virus
actually causes microcephaly in babies, a condition defined by
unusually small heads that can result in developmental problems.
[to top of second column]
On March 9, Brazil said confirmed microcephaly cases rose to 745 and
considers most of them to be related to Zika infections in the
mothers. Brazil is investigating an additional 4,231 suspected cases
Traces of Zika virus have been found in the bodily fluids and tissue
of mothers and babies affected by microcephaly.
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Bernard Orr)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.