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thedrifter
09-08-03, 01:09 PM
Dozen Marines contract malaria after Liberia mission, officials say

By Robert Burns
ASSOCIATED PRESS
8:49 a.m., September 8, 2003

WASHINGTON – Twelve U.S. Marines who were in Liberia last month in support of a West African peacekeeping mission have contracted malaria and 21 others have symptoms of the disease, defense officials said Monday.

Two of the Marines were flown from the USS Iwo Jima warship off the coast of Liberia to a U.S. medical center in Germany on Saturday and 31 others were flown from the ship Sunday to the Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Marines, members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., were in Liberia in mid-August as part of a U.S. quick-reaction force of about 150 U.S. troops. They operated from an airport outside Monrovia, the capital.

U.S. troops normally receive an anti-malarial drug regimen before deploying to a country like Liberia where there is risk of getting the disease.

Details on the sick Marines' condition was not immediately available.

Malaria is transmitted by mosquitos that breed in stagnant water and tall grass.

The disease kills 3,000 children a day in Africa and robs the continent of millions of dollars in lost productivity, the United Nations said in a report early this year.

The mosquito-borne disease infects 300 million people a year in the poorest continent and has become increasingly resistant to drugs, said the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF. Yet there are ways to control the disease, they said.




EDITORS: Associated Press reporter Pauline Jelinek contributed to this story.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/military/20030908-0849-marines-malaria.html


Sempers,

Roger
:marine:

thedrifter
09-09-03, 03:19 PM
September 09, 2003

Ten more show malaria symptions

By Pauline Jelinek
Associated Press


Ten more Marines and sailors who were in Liberia last month are being hospitalized with symptoms of malaria, bringing to 43 the number of suspected cases among those who participated in the mission, defense officials said Tuesday.
The 43 represent nearly a third of the 150 who went ashore to assist West African peacekeepers. Doctors are investigating to find out why that rate is so high, said Air Force Capt. Sarah Kerwin, a spokeswoman for European Command.

Malaria was confirmed in 12 of the 43 cases on Monday, and testing continues on the other 31, who have exhibited symptoms of the mosquito-borne disease, a Pentagon official said Tuesday.

Normally, troops are given a drug regimen, requiring them to begin taking preventive medicine before deploying. Doctors were questioning the patients to find out if they took the medication and if so, when, Kerwin said.

The 40 Marines and three Navy officers who fell ill all went ashore from the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima and the amphibious landing dock Carter Hall, said Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler, a spokesman at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Two Marines who exhibited more severe symptoms than the others were flown Saturday from the Iwo Jima warship off the coast of Liberia to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Thirty other Marines, plus one sailor, were flown Sunday to Bethesda. The 10 new patients were flown overnight Monday to Bethesda, Md., officials said.

Col. Jay DeFrank, a Defense Department spokesman, said the Marines, members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., were in Liberia in mid-August as part of a U.S. quick-reaction force of about 150 U.S. troops. They operated from an airport outside Monrovia, the capital.

European Command said it was unlikely that the illness presented a communicable disease risk to the other Marines and sailors aboard the ships.

Other officials said that as a precaution, movements of Marines ashore in Liberia from the Iwo Jima and two other Navy ships off the Liberian coast were being limited for the time being.

There are about 136 U.S. troops still ashore in Liberia, mostly Marines providing security at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia. The Iwo Jima and two other ships off the coast have about 2,200 Marines and about 2,500 sailors aboard.

Malaria is transmitted by mosquitos that breed in stagnant water and tall grass. The disease kills 3,000 children a day in Africa and robs the continent of millions of dollars in lost productivity, the United Nations said in a report early this year.

The disease infects 300 million people a year in Africa and has become increasingly resistant to drugs, said the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF.






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Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.


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Sempers,

Roger
:marine: