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5 at Fort Bragg have Zika

A Fort Bragg spokesman said Tuesday that five people on post have been diagnosed with the Zika virus.

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Three active duty soldiers and two retirees based at Fort Bragg have contracted the Zika virus, post spokeswoman Elizabeth Gerhart said on Tuesday.

Each of the individuals who contracted the virus were seen by their primary care physician after exhibiting symptoms consistent with Zika. Fort Bragg's Preventative Medicine Department contacted the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for permission to test for Zika.

Gerheart said that all five cases were contracted while the patients had taken personal trips outside the United States to areas where Zika is known to be present.. None of the cases involved pregnant women.

There is no danger to the surrounding community, Gerheart said.

"We understand the public's concerns and fears about Zika, and like the other Zika cases in North Carolina, we are fully confident these patients do not pose a health threat to the local population," said Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum. "All patients have been instructed on what they need to do to ensure they do not transmit Zika to others. If they follow these procedures, medical sources say there is no threat to the population."

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that is rarely deadly. Most people infected never show symptoms. A few will suffer a fever, rash or joint pain.

Most people infected contract the virus from a mosquito, but it can also be transmitted via sexual contact, blood transfusion and from a mother to her fetus.

The greatest risk from Zika comes to pregnant women and the babies they carry. The virus has been linked to birth defects, especially microcephaly, where infants are born with an unusually small head.

A total of 48 cases of Zika have been reported in North Carolina.


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