An active-duty member of the US military based in Stuttgart, Germany has been identified as having the military’s first known case of monkeypox, a US European Command spokesperson told AWN in a statement.
The service member “recently tested positive for monkeypox,” Captain William Speaks, USN, said in a statement.
“The individual was seen and treated at the Stuttgart Army Health clinic and is currently in isolation recovering in their quarters off-base,” Speaks said.
He continued: “Public health officials have determined that the risk to the overall population is very low. As a precautionary measure, contact tracing is being done for clinic staff who interacted with the patient. The case in Stuttgart is of the West African strain, which is generally mild and human-to-human transmission is limited.”
The US military is complying with all applicable host nation laws and regulations, the spokesperson said.
Military infectious disease experts had been watching for monkeypox cases for some time, officials say the Pentagon recently asked the Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases what testing capabilities are available should there be a large outbreak.
The virus spreads primarily through direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids or sores or can spread through contaminated materials like linens, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers are still learning about other potential transmission methods such as contact with an infected person’s semen or contact with an infected person who doesn’t have symptoms.
As of Thursday, the CDC has reported 45 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox in 15 states and the District of Columbia. There have been 1,356 cases of monkeypox and orthopoxvirus — the family of viruses monkeypox belongs to — in 31 countries where the monkeypox is not endemic, the CDC also reported.