Troops in Iraq fight bugs, parasites

May 07, 2007

A parasitic disease transmitted by sand flies has become so common in Iraq that troops call it the "Baghdad boil."

The Boston Globe reported 2,500 U.S. troops have been infected with the disease, leishmaniasis, in the past four years.

The military recommends troops sleep with bed nets, wear uniforms treated with insect repellant, treat exposed skin with the chemical DEET and wear long pants, long-sleeves and socks when outside to avoid the tiny, hopping insects that carry the disease, which often causes a rash. But Army Col. Peter J. Weina of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md., learned on a trip to Iraq that some commanders don't follow the recommendations to combat the sand flies and leishmaniasis.

"In some areas, every one had heard about bed nets and about leishmaniasis, but other military units were totally oblivious," Weina told the Globe.

"From the perspective of the person on the ground, they are bombarded with so many concerns. The way the war is going now, getting a little sore that may or may not go away is minor compared to losing your leg," he said.

The disease can be fatal if it strikes the organs, the Globe reported.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers developing an artificial vision system for prosthetic legs to improve gait

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NY surveying banks on cyber security defenses

1 hour ago

(AP)—New York financial regulators are considering tougher cyber security requirements for banks to mandate more complex computer sign-ins and certifications from the contractors of their cyber defenses, the state's top ...

Life-saving train design is rarely used

2 hours ago

(AP)—Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. secretary of transportation stood at the site of a horrendous commuter train crash near downtown Los Angeles and called for the adoption of a new train car design that ...

Climate change may flatten famed surfing waves

2 hours ago

On a summer day in 1885, three Hawaiian princes surfed at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River on crudely constructed boards made from coastal redwoods, bringing the sport to the North American mainland.

Recommended for you

Many transplant surgeons suffer burnout

Feb 25, 2015

Despite saving thousands of lives yearly, nearly half of organ transplant surgeons report a low sense of personal accomplishment and 40% feel emotionally exhausted, according to a national study on transplant surgeon burnout

5 tips for handling early-year medical expenses

Feb 25, 2015

The clock on insurance deductibles reset on Jan. 1, and that means big medical bills are in store for some. Patients may be required to pay thousands of dollars before their health care coverage kicks in.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.