US Warship Must Stay at Sea During Outbreak

Henrietta Strickland
March 15, 2019

A United States warship has been staying at sea, not allowed to make a port call, for more than two months because of an outbreak of a viral infection among the crew.

Parotitis, a viral infection with symptoms similar to the mumps, has spread across the USS Fort McHenry, a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship, affecting a total of 25 sailors and Marines.

Until CNN asked about the incident, the USA military had not disclosed it.

The warship, which includes elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and has a total of 703 sailors on board, is now on mission in the Persian Gulf. Exercising caution, it was determined that all of the 700 service members received booster shots for measles, mumps and rubella.

A military official said that when a major disease breaks out, it could be chose to halt port visits until 30 days after the last reported illness, due to incubation periods.

Communal spaces and living areas were also disinfected.

The US warship made a port call in early January in Romania before travelling back to the Mediterranean and heading towards the Middle East, where it is now quarantined. Since the initial case was detected on December 22, 24 of the 25 patients have returned to duty.

None of the personnel had to be medevaced off the ship and all are expected to make a full recovery.

Officials are now considering whether it would be safe to make a port call.

The Fort McHenry, which carries elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, will be receiving a U.S. military medical team specializing in preventative care will be deploying to the Fort McHenry in the near future to assess the crew and MEU's health.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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