A total of 675,626 active duty Army soldiers who were known to be at risk for deployment to the Persian Gulf were followed from 1980 through the Persian Gulf War. Hospitalization histories for the entire cohort and Health Risk Appraisal surveys for a subset of 374 soldiers were used to evaluate prewar distress, health, and behaviors. Deployers were less likely to have had any prewar hospitalizations or hospitalization for a condition commonly reported among Gulf War veterans or to report experiences of depression/suicidal ideation. Deployers reported greater satisfaction with life and relationships but displayed greater tendencies toward risk-taking, such as drunk driving, speeding, and failure to wear safety belts. Deployed veterans were more likely to receive hazardous duty pay and to be hospitalized for an injury than nondeployed Gulf War-era veterans. If distress is a predictor of postwar morbidity, it is likely attributable to experiences occurring during or after the war and not related to prewar exposures or health status. Postwar excess injury risk may be explained in part by a propensity for greater risk-taking, which was evident before and persisted throughout the war.
Background/objectives: Few studies of Chlamydia trachomatis incidence, especially among men, and most studies of C trachomatis in US military populations are cross sectional prevalence surveys. A population based retrospective cohort was used to determine risk factors for repeat diagnoses of genital C trachomatis infections among male and female soldiers with previous C trachomatis infections.
Methods: All active duty soldiers diagnosed with C trachomatis genital infections between 1994 and 1998. Cohort members were passively followed until repeat diagnoses of C trachomatis infection, termination of army service, or the end of the study.
Results: Among 11 771 soldiers with initial diagnoses of chlamydia, the crude rate of repeat diagnoses was 52.0 per 1000 person years. Women and men aged 20–24 were at greatest unadjusted risk of reinfection. After adjustment, women aged 20–24 and men aged 25–29 were at higher risk than their younger or older counterparts.
Conclusions: Results of this study suggest that both male and female soldiers who are diagnosed with chlamydia infections have relatively high risks of reinfection through their 20s.
Key Words: epidemiology; military personnel; sexually transmitted diseases; United States
Prior studies suggest racial/ethnic differences in the associations between alcohol misuse and spouse abuse. Some studies indicate that drinking patterns are a stronger predictor of spouse abuse for African Americans but not whites or Hispanics, while others report that drinking patterns are a stronger predictor for whites than African Americans or Hispanics. This study extends prior work by exploring associations between heavy drinking, alcohol-related problems, and risk for spouse abuse within racial/ethnic groups as well as variations associated with whether the perpetrator is drinking during the spouse abuse incident.
Cases (N = 7,996) were all active-duty male, enlisted Army spouse abusers identified in the Army’s Central Registry (ACR) who had also completed an Army Health Risk Appraisal (HRA) Survey between 1991 and 1998. Controls (N = 17,821) were matched on gender, rank, and marital and HRA status.
We found 3 different patterns of association between alcohol use and domestic violence depending upon both the race/ethnicity of the perpetrator and whether or not alcohol was involved in the spouse abuse event. First, after adjusting for demographic and psychosocial factors, weekly heavy drinking (>14 drinks per week) and alcohol-related problems (yes to 2 or more of 6 alcohol-related problem questions, including the CAGE) were significant predictors of domestic violence among whites and Hispanics only. Also for the white soldiers, the presence of family problems mediated the effect of alcohol-related problems on spouse abuse. Second, alcohol-related problems predicted drinking during a spouse abuse incident for all 3 race groups, but this relation was moderated by typical alcohol consumption patterns in Hispanics and whites only. Finally, alcohol-related problems predicted drinking during a spouse abuse incident, but this was a complex association moderated by different psychosocial or behavioral variables within each race/ethnic group.
These findings suggest important cultural/social influences that interact with drinking patterns.
Alcohol; Violence; Intimate Partner Violence; Ethnicity; Race; Army
This report analyzes the occurrence of Cryptosporidium spp., E.
histolytica, and G. intestinalis in stool of returnees from
military deployments and the impact of hygiene precautions. Between 2007 and 2010, stool
samples of 830 returnees that were obtained 8–12 weeks after military deployments
in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, the Balkans, Democratic Republic of the Congo/Gabonese
Republic, and Sudan and 292 control samples from non-deployed soldiers were analyzed by
PCR for Cryptosporidium spp., E. histolytica, G.
intestinalis, and the commensal indicator of fecal contamination E.
dispar. Data on hygiene precautions were available. The soldiers were
questioned regarding gastrointestinal and general symptoms. Among 1122 stool samples, 18
were positive for G. intestinalis, 10 for E. dispar, and
no-one for Cryptosporidium spp. and E. histolytica. An
increased risk of acquiring chronic parasitic infections in comparison with non-deployed
controls was demonstrated only for G. intestinalis in Sudan, where
standardized food and drinking water hygiene precautions could not be implemented.
Standard food and drinking water hygiene precautions in the context of screened military
field camps proved to be highly reliable in preventing food-borne and water-borne chronic
infections and colonization by intestinal protozoa, leading to detection proportions
similar to those in non-deployed controls.
deployment, field camp, food hygiene, water hygiene, parasite, real-time PCR
A significant proportion of military veterans of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Growing evidence suggests that neuropsychological deficits are a symptom of PTSD. The current study investigated neurocognitive functioning among soldiers diagnosed with PTSD. Specifically, active-duty soldiers with and without a diagnosis of PTSD were assessed for performance on tests of attention and working memory. In addition, factors such as combat experience, depression, anxiety, PTSD symptom severity, and alcohol consumption were explored as possible mediators of group differences in neurocognitive functioning. Twenty-three active-duty soldiers diagnosed with PTSD were matched with 23 healthy Soldier controls; all were administered the Attention Network Task (ANT), Backward Digit Span (BDS) task, Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, PTSD Checklist—Military Version, Combat Exposure Scale, and Modified Drinking Behavior Questionnaire. Soldiers diagnosed with PTSD performed significantly worse on the working memory task (BDS) than healthy controls, and reported greater levels of PTSD symptoms, combat exposure, depression, and anxiety. However, after controlling for depression and anxiety symptoms, the relationship between PTSD and working memory was no longer present. The results indicate that PTSD is accompanied by deficits in working memory, which appear to be partially attributed to anxiety and depression symptoms.
Anxiety; depression; digit span; memory; military; neurocognitive
Military members, injured in Afghanistan or Iraq, have returned home with multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii infections. The source of these infections is unknown.
Retrospective study of all Canadian soldiers who were injured in Afghanistan and who required mechanical ventilation from January 1 2006 to September 1 2006. Patients who developed A. baumannii ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) were identified. All A. baumannii isolates were retrieved for study patients and compared with A. baumannii isolates from environmental sources from the Kandahar military hospital using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
During the study period, six Canadian Forces (CF) soldiers were injured in Afghanistan, required mechanical ventilation and were repatriated to Canadian hospitals. Four of these patients developed A. baumannii VAP. A. baumannii was also isolated from one environmental source in Kandahar – a ventilator air intake filter. Patient isolates were genetically indistinguishable from each other and from the isolates cultured from the ventilator filter. These isolates were resistant to numerous classes of antimicrobials including the carbapenems.
These results suggest that the source of A. baumannii infection for these four patients was an environmental source in the military field hospital in Kandahar. A causal linkage, however, was not established with the ventilator. This study suggests that infection control efforts and further research should be focused on the military field hospital environment to prevent further multi-drug resistant A. baumannii infections in injured soldiers.
Data from the Total Army Injury and Health Outcomes Database (TAIHOD) were used to describe 28,352 fall-related hospitalizations among active-duty Army soldiers between 1980 and 1998. Soldiers who were younger than age 26, single, and had a high school education or less were at greatest risk. Falls from a height were more likely to be fatal than other types of falls, accounting for 88% of all fatalities. In cases where duty status was known, 64% of the falls took place while the soldier was on duty and half of these occurred during training. The most common type of fall during training was fall from a height (37%). Falls on stairs and ladders accounted for 49% of all off-duty falls. Future research should include identification of specific behavioral and occupational risk factors for falls, particularly those occurring during training activities, and falls occurring off duty.
Accidental falls; Army; injuries and wounds; hospitalizations; database; military; free text
This study examines the relationship between typical weekly drinking and perpetration of spouse abuse as well as the relationship between the perpetrator’s typical weekly drinking and alcohol use during the abuse event among U.S. Army male soldiers.
Cases include all active duty, male, enlisted Army spouse abusers identified in the Army’s Central Registry who had also completed an Army Health Risk Appraisal Survey (HRA) between 1991 and 1998 (N = 9534). Cases were matched on sex, rank, and marital status with 21,786 control subjects who had also completed an HRA.
In multivariate logistic regression models, heavy drinkers (22 or more drinks per week) were 66% more likely to be spouse abusers than were abstainers (odds ratio 1.66; 95% confidence interval 1.40–1.96). In addition, self-reported moderate and heavy drinkers were three times as likely and light drinkers (1–7 drinks per week) were twice as likely as nondrinkers to be drinking during the time of the abuse event.
Self-reported heavy drinking is an independent risk factor for perpetration of spouse abuse among male, enlisted Army soldiers. Even 5 years or more after ascertainment of typical drinking habits, there is a significant association between self-reported heavy drinking and alcohol involvement at the time of the spouse abuse event. Personnel who work with perpetrators and victims of spouse abuse should be trained carefully to query about current and typical drinking patterns.
Spouse Abuse; Violence; Alcohol; Injury; Military
Physical and mental function are strong indicators of disability and mortality. OEF/OIF Veterans returning from deployment have been found to have poorer function than soldiers who have not deployed; however the reasons for this are unknown.
A prospective cohort of 790 soldiers was assessed both pre- and immediately after deployment to determine predictors of physical and mental function after war.
On average, OEF/OIF Veterans showed significant declines in both physical (t=6.65, p<.0001) and mental function (t=7.11, p<.0001). After controlling for pre-deployment function, poorer physical function after deployment was associated with older age, more physical symptoms, blunted systolic blood pressure reactivity and being injured. After controlling for pre-deployment function, poorer mental function after deployment was associated with younger age, lower social desirability, lower social support, greater physical symptoms and greater PTSD symptoms.
Combat deployment was associated with an immediate decline in both mental and physical function. The relationship of combat deployment to function is complex and influenced by demographic, psychosocial, physiological and experiential factors. Social support and physical symptoms emerged as potentially modifiable factors.
Health function; Quality of life; Veterans; Military; Prospective; SF-36; Iraq; Afghanistan; Combat
Background The mental health functioning of military spouses and intimate partners prior to the combat deployments of their loved ones is poorly studied.
Aims Whereas service members and veterans often receive healthcare directly from the military or the Department of Veterans Affairs, family members may be more likely to present in family care settings. An understanding of mental health problems commonly occurring in this population is therefore important.
Method National Guard soldiers and their spouses or cohabitating partners (n = 223 couples) were surveyed about mental health symptoms, social functioning and mental health service utilisation one to two months prior to a combat deployment to Afghanistan.
Results Screening rates for partner post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, alcohol problems and social impairment were 2.4, 15.3, 3.7 and 10.7%, respectively, and were significantly higher for partners than soldiers with regards to depression and social impairment. The majority of partners screening positive for psychiatric distress did not report utilising mental health services or military support services (i.e. family readiness groups). Clinical implications are discussed.
combat deployment; deployment cycle; depression; family well-being; PTSD
To examine the relationship between alcohol use and the cause, type and severity of hospitalized injuries.
We used the Total Army Injury and Health Outcomes Database (TAIHOD) to conduct cross-sectional analyses of the association between alcohol comorbidity and the cause, type and severity of soldiers’ non-combat injuries requiring hospitalization.
Subjects were active-duty US army soldiers (n = 211 790) hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of injury between 1980 and 2002.
Alcohol comorbidity was positively associated with hospitalized injuries resulting from fights and falls and negatively associated with sports injuries; positively associated with hospitalized cases of head injury, open wounds and poisonings and negatively associated with musculoskeletal injury; and, overall, associated with shorter length of stay. Controlling for demographic factors did not moderate the association between alcohol and cause, type or severity of injury.
Alcohol comorbidity is specifically associated with injuries related to impairment and antisocial behavior.
Alcohol; head injuries; injury cause; injury severity; injury type; military; soldiers; sports injuries
Thousands of former child soldiers who were abducted during the prolonged conflict in northern Uganda have returned to their home communities. Programmes that facilitate their successful reintegration continue to face a number of challenges. Although there is increasing knowledge of the dynamics of HIV infection during conflict, far less is known about its prevalence and implications for population health in the post-conflict period. This study investigated the effects of abduction on the prevalence of HIV and HIV-risk behaviours among young people in Gulu District, northern Uganda. An understanding of abduction experiences and HIV-risk behaviours is vital to both the development of effective reintegration programming for former child soldiers and the design of appropriate HIV prevention interventions for all young people.
In 2010, we conducted a cross-sectional study of 2 sub-counties in Gulu District. A demographic and behavioural survey was interview-administered to a purposively selected sample of 384 transit camp residents aged 15–29. Biological specimens were collected for HIV rapid testing in the field and confirmatory laboratory testing. Descriptive statistics were used to describe characteristics of abduction. Additionally, a gender-stratified bivariate analysis compared abductees’ and non-abductees’ HIV risk profiles.
Of the 384 participants, 107 (28%) were former child soldiers (61% were young men and 39% were young women). The median age of participants was 20 and median age at abduction was 13. HIV prevalence was similar among former abductees and non-abductees (12% vs. 13%; p = 0.824), with no differences observed by gender. With respect to differences in HIV vulnerability, our bivariate analysis identified greater risky sexual behaviours in the past year for former abductees than non-abductees, but there were no differences between the two groups’ survival/livelihood activities and food insufficiency experiences, both overall and by gender. The analysis further revealed that young northern Ugandans in general are in desperate need of education, skills development, and support for victims of sexual violence.
This study persuasively demonstrates that all young people in northern Ugandan have been similarly affected by HIV infection during war and displacement. Post-conflict programme planners must therefore abandon rudimentary targeting practices based on abductees as a high-profile category. Instead, they must develop evidence-based HIV interventions that are commensurate with young people’s specific needs. As such programmes will be less stigmatizing, more oriented to self-selection, and more inclusive, they will effectively reach the most vulnerable young people in northern Uganda.
Child soldiers; HIV/AIDS; Post-conflict programming; Young people; Northern Uganda
The negative impact of sustaining an injury on a military deployment on subsequent mental health is well-documented, however, the relationship between having an illness on a military operation and subsequent mental health is unknown.
Population based study, linking routinely collected data of attendances at emergency departments in military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan [Operational Emergency Department Attendance Register (OpEDAR)], with data on 3896 UK Army personnel who participated in a military health study between 2007 and 2009 and deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan between 2003 to 2009.
In total, 13.8% (531/3896) of participants had an event recorded on OpEDAR during deployment; 2.3% (89/3884) were medically evacuated. As expected, those medically evacuated for an injury were at increased risk of post deployment probable PTSD (odds ratio 4.27, 95% confidence interval 1.80-10.12). Less expected was that being medically evacuated for an illness was also associated with a similarly increased risk of probable PTSD (4.39, 1.60-12.07) and common mental disorders (2.79, 1.41-5.51). There was no association between having an OpEDAR event and alcohol misuse. Having an injury caused by hostile action was associated with increased risk of probable PTSD compared to those with a non-hostile injury (3.88, 1.15 to 13.06).
Personnel sustaining illnesses on deployment are just as, if not more, at risk of having subsequent mental health problems as personnel who have sustained an injury. Monitoring of mental health problems should consider those with illnesses as well as physical injuries.
Mental Health; Military; PTSD; Alcohol use; Depression; Deployment
This study was performed to determine the incidence and seroprevalence of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections in young soldiers in the Republic of Korea Army. From January 2000 through December 2004, a total of 147 hepatitis A cases were reported to the Armed Forces Medical Command. The annual incidence rates were 7.4 per 100,000 persons in 2000, 1.6 in 2001, 4.4 in 2002, 9.8 in 2003, and 6.2 in 2004, based on the reported cases among approximately 500,000 soldiers. All patients were males with a median age of 21 yr (range, 19-27). The most common symptom was nausea (86.5%), and all patients had recovered without complications. In addition, in order to evaluate the seroprevalence of HAV infection in young adults, serum samples were obtained from randomly selected young subjects among those who had been admitted to the Armed Forces Capital Hospital from September 2005 to February 2006. A total of 200 subjects were enrolled in the study to analyze the anti-HAV immune status. The overall anti-HAV IgG seropositive rate was 2% (4/200, 95% CI, 0.60-5.21%). Given the changing epidemiology of the disease and the associated increase in morbidity, it was suggested that the routine HAV vaccination for Korean military personnel might be necessary.
Hepatitis A; Incidence; Military Personnel; Seroprevalence
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has emerged as an important cause of skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTI). The understanding of the molecular epidemiology and virulence of MRSA continues to expand. From January 2005 to December 2005, we screened soldiers for MRSA nasal colonization, administered a demographic questionnaire, and monitored them prospectively for SSTI. All MRSA isolates underwent molecular analysis, which included pulsed-filed gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and PCR for Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), the arginine catabolic mobile element (ACME), and the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec). Of the 3,447 soldiers screened, 134 (3.9%) had MRSA colonization. Of the 3,066 (89%) who completed the study, 39 developed culture-confirmed MRSA abscesses. Clone USA300 represented 53% of colonizing isolates but was responsible for 97% of the abscesses (P < 0.001). Unlike colonizing isolates, isolates positive for USA300, PVL, ACME, and type IV SCCmec were significantly associated with MRSA abscess isolates. As determined by multivariate analysis, risk factors for MRSA colonization were a history of SSTI and a history of hospitalization. Although various MRSA strains may colonize soldiers, USA300 is the most virulent when evaluated prospectively, and PVL, ACME, and type IV SCCmec are associated with these abscesses.
This article reports findings from a one-year longitudinal study examining the impact of change in PTSD symptoms following combat deployment on National Guard soldiers’ perceived parenting, and couple adjustment one year following return from Iraq.
Participants were 468 Army National Guard fathers from a Brigade Combat Team (mean age 36 years; median deployment length 16 months; 89% European American, 5% African American, 6% Hispanic American). Participants completed an in-theater survey one month before returning home from OIF deployment (Time 1), and again, one year post-deployment (Time 2). The PTSD Checklist-Military Version (PCL-M; Weathers, Litz, Herman, Huska, & Keane, 1993) was gathered at both times, and two items assessing social support were gathered at baseline only. At Time 2, participants also completed self-report measures of parenting (Alabama Parenting Questionnaire—Short Form; Elgar, Waschbusch, Dadds, & Sigvaldason, 2007), couple adjustment (Dyadic Adjustment Scale-7; Sharpley & Rogers, 1984; Spanier, 1976), parent-child relationship quality (4 items from the Social Adjustment Scale-Self Report; Weissman & Bothwell, 1976), alcohol use (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test; Babor, Higgins-Biddle, Saunders, & Monteiro, 2001), and items assessing injuries sustained while deployed.
Structural equation modeling analyses showed that increases in PTSD symptoms were associated with poorer couple adjustment and greater perceived parenting challenges at Time 2 (both at p<.001). Furthermore, PTSD symptoms predicted parenting challenges independent of their impact on couple adjustment.
Findings highlight the importance of investigating and intervening to support parenting and couple adjustment among combat-affected National Guard families.
parenting; couple adjustment; military personnel; posttraumatic stress symptoms
The Afghan military theatre is specifically marked by guerilla operations and massive use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) that pose new types of threats for their victims. At the same time, the relevant literature contains only a single, fragmentary analysis on injuries suffered by soldiers serving in the Afghan mission.
This is a review of medical reports of the Polish Military Contingent deployed within Operation Enduring Freedom, from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2011; the analysis includes all cases of combat and non-combat injuries in terms of their causes.
In the period under analysis, 380 Polish soldiers were reported injured; 87.1% of cases were combat and 12.9% non-combat injuries. The structure of injuries caused as a result of IED explosions was dominated by multiple limb injuries, associated most frequently with severe body cavities/spine injuries. In the case of other incidents, both combat and non-combat, the predominant consequences were single and, most commonly, less severe injuries. The average number of injuries suffered from IED attacks (3.37) was significantly higher than the number of injuries from other attacks (1.16), and higher than the number of non-combat injuries (1.43).
IED attacks pose a serious medical problem, considering their high number and the severity of injuries they cause.
injuries; combat; non-combat; casualties; ISAF Operation; IED
In this descriptive case series, 80 soldiers from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with inhalational exposures during service in Iraq and Afghanistan were evaluated for dyspnea on exertion that prevented them from meeting the U.S. Army's standards for physical fitness.
The soldiers underwent extensive evaluation of their medical and exposure history, physical examination, pulmonary-function testing, and high-resolution computed tomography (CT). A total of 49 soldiers underwent thoracoscopic lung biopsy after noninvasive evaluation did not provide an explanation for their symptoms. Data on cardiopulmonary-exercise and pulmonary-function testing were compared with data obtained from historical military control subjects.
Among the soldiers who were referred for evaluation, a history of inhalational exposure to a 2003 sulfur-mine fire in Iraq was common but not universal. Of the 49 soldiers who underwent lung biopsy, all biopsy samples were abnormal, with 38 soldiers having changes that were diagnostic of constrictive bronchiolitis. In the remaining 11 soldiers, diagnoses other than constrictive bronchiolitis that could explain the presenting dyspnea were established. All soldiers with constrictive bronchiolitis had normal results on chest radiography, but about one quarter were found to have mosaic air trapping or centrilobular nodules on chest CT. The results of pulmonary-function and cardiopulmonary-exercise testing were generally within normal population limits but were inferior to those of the military control subjects.
In 49 previously healthy soldiers with unexplained exertional dyspnea and diminished exercise tolerance after deployment, an analysis of biopsy samples showed diffuse constrictive bronchiolitis, which was possibly associated with inhalational exposure, in 38 soldiers.
Psychotrauma occurs as a result to a traumatic event, which may involve witnessing someone's actual death or personally experiencing serious physical injury, assault, rape and sexual abuse, being held as a hostage, or a threat to physical or psychological integrity. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder and was defined in the past as railway spine, traumatic war neurosis, stress syndrome, shell shock, battle fatigue, combat fatigue, or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS). If untreated, post-traumatic stress disorder can impair relationships of those affected and strain their families and society. Deployed soldiers are especially at a high risk to be affected by PTSD but often receive inadequate treatment. Reviews to date have focused only on a single type of treatment or groups of soldiers from only one country. The aim of the current review was to evaluate characteristics of therapeutic methods used internationally to treat male soldiers' PTSD after peacekeeping operations in South Eastern Europe and the Gulf wars.
This systematic literature review returned results pertaining to the symptoms, diagnosis, timing and effectiveness of treatment. Sample groups and controls were relatively small and, therefore, the results lack generalizability. Further research is needed to understand the influence and unique psychological requirements of each specific military operation on the internationally deployed soldiers.
The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed an increased awareness on traumatic brain injury (TBI). Various publications have estimated the incidence of TBI for our deployed servicemen, however all have been based on extrapolations of data sets or subjective evaluations due to our current method of diagnosing a TBI. Therefore it has been difficult to get an accurate rate and severity of deployment related TBIs, or the incidence of multiple TBIs our service members are experiencing. As such, there is a critical need to develop a rapid objective method to diagnose TBI on the battlefield. Because of the austere environment of the combat theater the ideal diagnostic platform faces numerous logistical constraints not encountered in civilian trauma centers. Consequently, a simple blood test to diagnosis TBI represents a viable option for the military. This perspective will provide information on some of the current options for TBI biomarkers, detail concerning battlefield constraints, and a possible acquisition strategy for the military. The end result is a non-invasive TBI diagnostic platform capable of providing much needed advances in objective triage capabilities and improved clinical management of in-Theater TBI.
TBI; military; biomarkers; diagnosis; concussion
Acinetobacter osteomyelitis appears suppressed with extended antimicrobial drug therapy based on susceptibility patterns.
War wound infection and osteomyelitis caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter species have been prevalent during the 2003–2005 military operations in Iraq. Twenty-three soldiers wounded in Iraq and subsequently admitted to our facility from March 2003 to May 2004 had wound cultures positive for Acinetobacter calcoaceticus-baumannii complex. Eighteen had osteomyelitis, 2 burn infection, and 3 deep wound infection. Primary therapy for these infections was directed antimicrobial agents for an average of 6 weeks. All soldiers initially improved, regardless of the specific type of therapy. Patients were followed up to 23 months after completing therapy, and none had recurrent infection with Acinetobacter species. Despite the drug resistance that infecting organisms demonstrated in this series, a regimen of carefully selected extended antimicrobial-drug therapy appears effective for osteomyelitis caused by MDR Acinetobacter spp.
Keywords: Acinetobacter; osteomyelitis; multi-drug resistance; wound infection
This study assessed the efficacy of using visual and auditory biofeedback while immersed in a tridimensional videogame to practice a stress management skill (tactical breathing). All 41 participants were soldiers who had previously received basic stress management training and first aid training in combat. On the first day, they received a 15-minute refresher briefing and were randomly assigned to either: (a) no additional stress management training (SMT) for three days, or (b) 30-minute sessions (one per day for three days) of biofeedback-assisted SMT while immersed in a horror/first-person shooter game. The training was performed in a dark and enclosed environment using a 50-inch television with active stereoscopic display and loudspeakers. On the last day, all participants underwent a live simulated ambush with an improvised explosive device, where they had to provide first aid to a wounded soldier. Stress levels were measured with salivary cortisol collected when waking-up, before and after the live simulation. Stress was also measured with heart rate at baseline, during an apprehension phase, and during the live simulation. Repeated-measure ANOVAs and ANCOVAs confirmed that practicing SMT was effective in reducing stress. Results are discussed in terms of the advantages of the proposed program for military personnel and the need to practice SMT.
Screening women for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in nonclinic settings is highly desirable because many infections are asymptomatic. This is especially true for military women, for whom logistical, social, and other job-related obstacles present barriers to accessing medical care. We assessed the accuracy of intravaginal swabs transported by mail in a wet versus a dry state for PCR (Amplicor CT/NG test) detection of chlamydia and gonorrhea infections in a cross-sectional study of 793 active-duty military women attending an STD clinic. PCR tests of vaginal swabs (wet and dry) were compared to local clinical methods used on cervical swabs. Standard wet vaginal swab PCR testing detected more chlamydia (11.6%) than cervical enzyme immunoassay (9.3%). For detection of chlamydia using wet swabs, the sensitivity and specificity compared with adjudicated true positives were 94.6% (87 of 92) and 99.3% (696 of 701), respectively. Comparing dry swabs to true-positives for chlamydia, the sensitivity was 91.3% (84 of 92) and the specificity was 99.3% (696 of 701). Standard wet vaginal swab PCR detected more gonorrhea (3.3%) than routine cervical culture (2.1%). The sensitivity and specificity of PCR testing of wet swabs compared to true-positives (infected patients) were 96.3% (26 of 27) and 98.2% (752 of 766) for gonorrhea, respectively. For gonorrhea, the sensitivity and specificity of dry swabs compared to true-positives (infected patients) were 88.9% (24 of 27) and 98.3% (753 of 766), respectively. PCR testing of wet and dry transported intravaginal swabs to detect chlamydia and gonorrhea infections was an accurate diagnostic method for military women.
This is a case of a 26-year-old active duty male with a history of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and surgical asplenia who presented with a one-week history of fevers, myalgias, arthralgias, and rigors. His evaluation upon presentation was significant for a temperature of 103 degrees F, white blood cell count of 36 K with a granulocytic predominance, and elevated transaminases. He was treated empirically with broad-spectrum antibiotics with concern for a systemic infection with an encapsulated organism. During his stay, he developed four SIRS criteria and was transferred to the progressive care unit for suspected sepsis. He continued to have twice-daily fevers and a faint, salmon-colored centripetal rash was eventually observed during his febrile episodes. After a nondiagnostic microbiologic and serologic workup, he was diagnosed with adult-onset Still's Disease and started on intravenous methylprednisolone with brisk response. He was discharged on oral prednisone and was started on anakinra. Adult-onset Still's disease is a rare condition that presents with varying severity, and this is the first reported case, to our knowledge, of its diagnosis in an asplenic patient. Its management in the setting of asplenia is complicated by the need for antibiotic therapy with each episode of fever.
Despite child soldiers being considered in need of special mental health interventions, there is a lack of studies investigating the mental health of child soldiers compared with civilian children in armed conflicts.
To compare the mental health status of former child soldiers with children who have never been conscripts of armed groups.
Design, Setting, and Participants:
A matched-pair cohort study conducted from March through April 2007 in Nepal compared the mental health of 141 former child soldiers to 141 never conscripted children matched on age, sex, education, and ethnicity.
Depression symptoms were assessed via the Depression Self Rating Scale (DSRS), anxiety symptoms via the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED-5), symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) via the Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS), general psychological difficulties via the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), daily functioning via the Function Impairment (FI) tool, and exposure to traumatic events via Kiddie-Schedule of Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (KIDDIE-SADS) PTSD Traumatic Event Checklist.
Participants were a mean of 15.75 years at the time of this study and child soldiers ranged in age from 5 to 16 years at the time of conscription. All participants experienced at least 1 type of trauma. Number (%) of child soldiers meeting cutoff scores were 75 (53.2%) for depression, 65 (46.1%) for anxiety, 78 (55.3%) for PTSD, 55 (39.0%) for psychological difficulties, and 88 (62.4%) for function impairment. Child soldiers had greater odds of meeting cutoff for depression (OR=3.56, 95% CI 2.33—5.43), PTSD (for which we employed stratified analyses because of sex interaction: boys’ OR=3.85, 95% CI 1.77—8.39; girls’ OR=6.33, 95% CI 2.64—15.17), psychological difficulties (OR=2.91, 95% CI=1.53—5.51), and function impairment (OR=2.04, 95% CI 1.41—2.96), but no difference for anxiety (OR=1.46, 95% CI 0.72—2.68). After adjusting for traumatic exposures, soldier status was no longer associated with psychological difficulties or function impairment but remained significantly associated with depression (OR=2.69, 95% CI 1.48—4.89) and PTSD among girls (OR=5.98, 95% CI 1.86—19.27), but not PTSD among boys (OR=2.38, 95% CI 0.87—6.50).
In Nepal, former child soldiers display greater severity of mental health problems compared with children never conscripted by armed groups, and this difference remains for depression and PTSD (the latter especially among girls) even after controlling for trauma exposure.