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US Warship Has Been Under Quarantine for Two Months After Rare Virus Outbreak

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No one will be coming or going from the USS Fort McHenry any time soon, as the dock landing ship remains quarantined in the Persian Gulf after a virus outbreak on board.

About 25 sailors and Marines have been stricken with parotitis, a viral infection of the salivary glands that causes symptoms similar to the mumps, CNN reported.

The virus was first noted on the ship in December, with the most recent case diagnosed on March 9.

“None of the cases are life-threatening and all have either already made or are expected to make a full recovery,” the Fifth Fleet said in a statement to CNN.

Those who were infected were treated on board the ship, the Navy said, and none required evacuation.

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The Navy said that all 703 service members aboard were given measles, mumps and rubella booster vaccinations.

“The ship is currently operating in the Persian Gulf region and military medical officials are assessing when it may be deemed medically safe to make a port call,” CNN reported.

Do you think the Navy wanted to keep this under wraps?

Besides its crew, the ship carries members of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.

The Navy said that “Fort McHenry’s operational schedule has been modified while the ship’s medical team monitors crew health.”

Navy officials also said, however, that the ship has been able to perform its mission at all times.

A military medical team specializing in preventive care will be sent to the Fort McHenry soon to assess the health of all aboard, CNN reported.

The ship made a port call on Jan. 7 in Romania, but has not put in to port since then. CNN reported that the next port call would be likely to take place 30 days after the last infection has gone away.

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A Navy spokesman told Business Insider that shipboard life involves the crew members living in close proximity to each other, with the potential for infections similar to a college dorm or a locker room.

However, an outbreak of an infectious disease is rare, the spokesman told the Business Insider.

The Navy Times,  using information culled from various Navy media releases, said the ship has patrolled the Persian Gulf with the guided-missile destroyer Chung Hoon and has been resupplied by both helicopters and the ship John Lenthall.

In its reporting on the virus, CNN said that the Navy had not reported the outbreak until officials were asked about the ship’s status.

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