(The Hill) – The Pentagon on Friday confirmed its first known case of monkeypox in the U.S. military. An active-duty service member based in Germany recently tested positive for the virus, a spokesperson for the Defense Department confirmed to The Hill.
NBC News, which first reported the case, was told that the unidentified individual was seen and treated at the Stuttgart Army Health clinic and is now in isolation in their quarters on-base. U.S. European Command spokesman Navy Capt. William Speaks told NBC that public health officials have found that the risk to the overall population is “very low,” as the case is part of the West African strain, a generally mild version with limited human-to-human transmission.
He added that contact tracing is being done for clinic staff who saw the patient “as a precautionary measure.” As of this week, monkeypox has been found in 15 states and Washington, D.C., just weeks after it was first detected in the U.S., though the total number of cases has so far been less than 50, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has stressed that the virus — spread through prolonged skin to skin contact or through contaminated fabric like clothing or bed sheets — is not a high risk to the public. Belonging to the family of viruses that includes smallpox, monkeypox lasts from two to four weeks, and an infected person can see painful rashes and lesions. The person is no longer contagious once the lesions heal.