Measles Outbreak Confirmed At Fort McCoy Army Base In Wisconsin
Health concerns related to the tumultuous evacuation effort in Afghanistan are growing as a case of measles was confirmed at the Fort McCoy Army Base in Wisconsin.
An internal government email said the base confirmed a case of the measles on Sunday.
“All those who had been in contact with the infected person at the base have been isolated, and post-exposure prophylaxis and inoculations are in process,” the notice read.
A senior U.S. official confirmed that the measles case was identified as part of what they describe as a “robust health screening process.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) measles is a “highly contagious” virus that is spread by coughing, sneezing, and breathing contaminated air or touching infected surfaces and then touching their faces.
The CDC reports the virus to be so contagious that if one person has the measles, up to 90% of the people in close contact to that person, if not immune, will be infected. They add that the virus can live for up to two hours in an airspace even after an infected person leaves the area.
The CDC reports that Afghanistan has the seventh highest number of measles cases in the world.
The document stated that due to the contagious nature of the virus, Fort McCoy would not be receiving evacuees “at this time” and that they are working to get vaccines.
A spokesman said although they could not release specific medical cases, “the health of the Afghans at Fort McCoy is a top priority” and that Afghans are given medical screening and immunizations as needed.
Health concerns related to the evacuation were already on the rise, The New York Times reported that officials found six positive COVID-19 cases among the refugees who arrived at Dulles Airport on August 29.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, all arrivals are being tested for COVID-19 and will have the chance to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as other vaccines, at no cost.
The Pentagon said it is opening more military bases in addition to Fort McCoy, Fort Lee in Virginia, Fort Bliss in Texas, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix in New Jersey, to hold up to 50,000 Afghan nationals who are either applying for Special Immigrant Visa status or are deemed to be at risk.