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A rare virus outbreak at sea has left a US Navy warship quarantined for over 2 months

Published: March 14, 2019
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A US Navy warship deployed to the Persian Gulf has been quarantined at sea for more than two months because of a virus outbreak, a rare move the US Navy revealed Wednesday after an inquiry from CNN.

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. Symptoms of the illness appeared for the first time in December of last year.

Sick sailors were quarantined aboard the vessel and treated in the onboard medical facilities while their living areas were cleaned and disinfected. No one had to be medevaced off the ship, CNN reported Wednesday afternoon, but it's very unusual for US warships to spend more than two months at sea without a port call.

"None of the cases are life-threatening and all have either already made or are expected to make a full recovery," Fifth Fleet said in a statement emailed to Business Insider. Since the first case was detected at the end of last year, 24 of the 25 infected individuals have returned to duty.

The US Navy told Business Insider that port calls were canceled, effectively quarantining the ship at sea while medical teams worked to get the situation under control. Exercising caution, it was determined that all of the more than 700 service members on the Fort McHenry would receive booster vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella.

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