At least 33 U.S. troops, including a pregnant woman, have tested positive for the Zika virus, U.S. military spokesmen said Wednesday. Ten of those troops are men who answer to the Southern Command, the Pentagon subsidiary with oversight of troops in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Southcom spokesman Jose Ruiz said the 10 were infected in five locations — Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Martinique. They serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
The 10 “are all asymptomatic now,” Ruiz said, meaning they are not sick. All were tested between February and July. In addition, a female relative of a U.S. service member working for Southcom got the infection in one of those five countries, he said. She is not pregnant and is asymptomatic, Ruiz said.
Southcom has liaison troops in four of the five nations. They generally work out of U.S. embassies as part of cooperation agreements such as military exercises or providing humanitarian relief. In the instance of Martinique, Ruiz said, a Coast Guard cutter docked there as part of its anti-trafficking work with Southcom’s Joint Interagency Task Force, and someone got sick.
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