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Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo is home of U.S. Forces Japan, 5th Air Force and the 374th Airlift Wing.

Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo is home of U.S. Forces Japan, 5th Air Force and the 374th Airlift Wing. (Stars and Stripes)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Japan’s third case of monkeypox has appeared at the U.S. airlift hub in western Tokyo, the country’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced Friday.

A man affiliated with Yokota went to urgent care at the base hospital Thursday with symptoms of headache, chills, malaise and rash, according to the ministry. He tested positive for monkeypox Friday and remains hospitalized on the installation.

The man, who is in his 20s, has not traveled overseas since 2019, but recently had contact with a person visiting Japan for a short time, the ministry said.

The U.S. military reported the case to the Japanese government on Friday, the ministry said.

U.S. Forces Japan confirmed the infection in a statement Saturday morning, saying the patient was immediately placed in quarantine Thursday as a precautionary measure and has not had any known contact with individuals suspected of having monkeypox.

“The precise origin of the infection remains unknown at this time,” the statement said. “The patient will remain in isolation until medically cleared.”

A post-exposure vaccine is being offered to the patient’s close contacts, USFJ said, adding “we continue our commitment to protecting the health and well-being of our personnel, families, and the local Japanese community, of which we are a part.” 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 7,500 cases have been confirmed in the United States as of Friday. There are more than 28,000 infections in 88 regions around the world.

Japan reported its first and second monkey pox cases last month.

“While Monkeypox is not considered a widespread health concern to U.S. Forces, we are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our personnel and medical providers,” USFJ’s statement said. “We will continue to follow and communicate CDC guidance on this subject.”

Yokota serves as headquarters for USFJ, 5th Air Force and the 374th Airlift Wing.

Stars and Stripes reporter Seth Robson contributed to this report.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.
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