Editor's note: This article was first published at 12:34 p.m. EST on Aug. 1, 2016. It was updated Aug. 3 with the latest numbers.

Forty-one service members have contracted Zika since the Pentagon began tracking infections earlier this year, including one who is expecting a baby, according to Defense Department surveillance records.

The cases, which include active duty, National Guard and reserve personnel, all were acquired outside of the continental United States, but the Defense Department continues to monitor U.S. military installations at risk for mosquito-borne diseases, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Maj. Benjamin Sakrisson confirmed Wednesday.

"[We are actively testing mosquitoes] as part of our ongoing integrated vector control and surveillance programs at bases and installations," Sakrisson said.

DoD did not provide details on the status of the expectant mother or her unborn baby. Zika has been linked to birth defects such as microcephaly; one study released in May by the Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health estimated that fetuses of mothers infected with Zika in their first trimester face up to a 13 percent chance of being born with severe brain abnormalities.

As of July 27, in the continental United States and Hawaii, 1,658 cases of Zika have been reported to CDC, with the majority, 1,642, contracted through exposure to mosquitoes outside the United States. Fifteen cases are thought to have been sexually transmitted and one was the result of a laboratory exposure.

As of Wednesday, the state of Florida announced that 15 Zika infections likely were caused by local mosquitoes in the Miami area — the first known cases of direct transmission from U.S. mosquitoes.

U.S. military installation managers began aggressively monitoring for the species of mosquitoes that can carry Zika and other diseases in March.

Nearly 200 installations are in areas where mosquitoes capable of carrying Zika are also found.

While no mosquitoes have tested positive for Zika on military bases, the Navy obtained a positive reading for West Nile virus at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center campus in Bethesda, Maryland, in July, but according to Sakrisson, no human cases have occurred.

In addition to the troops diagnosed with Zika, seven military family members also have tested positive, also contracting the disease outside the continental U.S.

"According to a Defense Department release, the researchers have signed an agreement with Sanofi Pasteur to further develop and manufacture a vaccine from purified, inactivated Zika.

The developers hope to begin human testing of the product by the end of the year."

Patricia Kime covers military and veterans health care and medicine. She can be reached at pkime@militarytimes.com.

Patricia Kime is a senior writer covering military and veterans health care, medicine and personnel issues.

In Other News
Load More