Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The crew of this Navy warship has gone months without a port call thanks to a viral mumps outbreak
A viral mumps outbreak that left a deployed U.S. Navy warship quarantined at sea for five months is finally under control.
U.S. military personnel aboard the USS Fort McHenry, a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship carrying Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, began falling ill and were diagnosed with viral parotitis shortly after the ship departed Mayport Naval Station in Florida in mid-December. The Navy later clarified that affected personnel appeared to be suffering from a probable case of the mumps.
By early April, the number of affected service members had risen to 28, roughly 4% of the 703 people on board.
Outbreaks of influenza and other common illnesses occur every year aboard Navy vessels, but this situation was a bit different as U.S. troops are vaccinated against the mumps.
"It is not common for us to see outbreaks of vaccine-preventable viral infections," the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery previously told BI, adding that while "vaccines are effective at reducing the incidence and severity of vaccine-preventable diseases," the mumps portion of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is only 88% effective, suggesting that a vaccinated person could still be infected.
Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry prepares for an underway replenishment-at-sea with USNS Kanawha and USS New York in January 2015. (U.S. Navy//Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan B. Trejo)
The USS Fort McHenry was quarantined during viral outbreak. It has gone 112 days without a port call, which is exceptionally rare as port visits typically occur every month or so. The record was set by the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in 2002 when it spent 160 days at sea due to war-time operations.
The USS Fort McHenry's last port visit was to Constanta, Romania, where it stayed for four days before departing on January 10.
The situation aboard the ship has improved, and the quarantine is over. "All have made a full recovery and returned to duty." U.S. Fifth Fleet told Business Insider. "The ship has resumed movement of personnel on and off the ship."
The ship has not yet made a port call, though.
When the virus first began to spread, sick service members were quarantined aboard the vessel and treated in the onboard medical facilities while their living areas were cleaned and disinfected.
The Navy also sent medical professionals out to the ship to provide additional support, and to be on the safe side, the personnel aboard the ship were given a MMR booster for added protection.
While the quarantine has ended, Fifth Fleet continues to exercise caution. Military "personnel departing the ship must pass a rigorous pre-transfer medical screening process established to mitigate/prevent spreading the illness," a spokesperson for the fleet told BI.
The last active mumps case was April 2. The incubation period for the mumps is 25 days. A situation like this cannot be considered fully resolved until two full incubation periods have passed without incident. "This ensures that the virus is no longer spreading, as infected individuals sometimes show no symptoms of illness," BUMED previously explained.
Read more from Business Insider:
- The Navy's fighting to get a rare viral mumps outbreak under control after it stranded a U.S. warship at sea
- Here's what's in the cockpit of one of America's most secretive weapons — the B-2 stealth bomber
- The F-35 is about to get a lot more lethal in air-to-air combat — without losing its stealth
- 9 striking photos of the Marines' F-35 stealth jet at its first full air show
- Here's how pilots of B-2 stealth bombers pull off grueling 33-hour missions
WATCH NEXT: That Time U.S. Troops Drank All The Beer In Iceland's Capital
Those really sweet, hand-held drones that the Army bought in January were finally put to the test as they were fielded to some lucky soldiers for the first time at the beginning of May.
For many people, millennials are seen as super-entitled, self-involved, over-sensitive snowflakes who don't have the brains or brawn to, among other noble callings, serve as the next great generation of American warfighters.
Retired Navy Adm. William H. McRaven is here to tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about.
Supreme Court refuses to hear yet another challenge to the controversial Feres Doctrine on military medical malpractice
The Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition to hear a wrongful death case involving the controversial Feres Doctrine — a major blow to advocates seeking to undo the 69-year-old legal rule that bars U.S. service members and their families from suing the government for injury or death deemed to have been brought on by military service.
FORT IRWIN, California -- Anyone who's been here has seen it: the field of brightly painted boulders surrounding a small mountain of rocks that symbolizes unit pride at the Army's National Training Center.
For nearly four decades, combat units have painted their insignias on boulders near the road into this post. It's known as Painted Rocks.
Not just once, but twice, Fox News has asked mobsters how they should fight terrorists. The advice is more or less exactly what you'd expect.
Sure, the Mafia was ultimately unsuccessful in defeating the IRS, but maybe they could have a chance against ISIS.