Summer Watch

The Zika virus is a “significant concern” for the Air Force, USAF Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Mark Ediger said Tuesday. A Pentagon report released last week revealed at least 11 US service members, including three airmen, have been infected with the mosquito-transmitted virus this year, USA Today reported. “We know that we continue to conduct operations in parts? of the world where Zika is endemic,” Ediger told Air Force Magazine after an AFA-sponsored Air Force breakfast in Arlington, Va.. Ediger said most military members who have contracted Zika did so during personal travel, but some came into contact with it while on duty. He noted it is a difficult infection to avoid completely because the mosquito that transmits the virus is difficult to control and tends to bite during the day. “So it’s a challenging scenario,” he said, but the service is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to ensure airmen have the appropriate supplies and knowledge to protect themselves. Ediger said USAF installations along the southern US coast are monitoring and testing mosquitoes, but have found no evidence of Zika. “Nationally, we’re all watching to see if we’re going to see any mosquito-transmitted Zika in the US during the summer months,” he said. The service has also developed guidance for relocation of pregnant service members and dependents who live in affected areas, according to a June 4 release.