The Pentagon is moving some military families away from areas affected by the Zika virus AP Photo/Felipe Dana
Jaqueline Vieira, left, watches as her 3-month-old son Daniel, who was born with microcephaly, as he undergoes physical therapy at the Altino Ventura foundation in Recife, Brazil, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Brazilian officials still say they believe there's a sharp increase in cases of microcephaly and strongly suspect the Zika virus, which first appeared in the country last year, is to blame. The concern is strong enough that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month warned pregnant women to reconsider visits to areas where Zika is present. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

The Department of Defense (DoD) is moving pregnant family members of its active-duty military and civilian workforce away from areas impacted by the Zika virus. Those affected will be offered voluntary relocation as the virus has now become an international public health emergency.

It’s not clear how the families will be able to request transfers, but U.S. Southern Command officials said that one person has already been moved.

DoD researchers are increasing their efforts to develop a vaccine for the virus which was first identified in monkeys in Africa in 1947.

It was first detected in Brazil last year and has spread there. Health officials believe it’s linked to microcephaly, a severe birth defect that causes babies to be born with small heads and underdeveloped brains.

[graphiq id=”kpNJnfUCwsJ” title=”Birth Defects Associated with Zika Virus” width=”600″ height=”626″ url=”” link=”//” link_text=”Birth Defects Associated with Zika Virus | HealthGrove”]

The World Health Organization estimates more than 4 million people may be infected by the end of the year.

(H/T Military Times)

Read more:
CDC warns pregnant women not to travel to these countries, for fear of serious birth defects

Yolanda R. Arrington is a content editor for Rare. Tweet her @iamyolanda and like her on Facebook.
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