90 soldiers contracted Q fever while serving in Afghanistan

At least 90 British military personnel have been diagnosed with confirmed cases of Q fever after serving in Helmand, Afghanistan, a British court heard this week.

According to a UK military news outlet, Forces Network, a consultant in infectious diseases and tropical medicine told the Central London Country Court on Tuesday that 90 confirmed cases of Q Fever had been recorded among British soldiers who had served in Helmand.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Bailey’s testimony was heard in the case of Wayne Bass, a private with 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, who said his life has been ruined after he contracted the disease while in Helmand in 2011/2012.

Humans can catch Q fever by breathing in dust from the feces of infected farm animals such as sheep, cattle and goats.

During his tour, his lawyers said Bass was in contact with goats and sheep and “was often required to take cover and jump through ditches and crawl along the ground – coming into contact with animal products and excrement”.

Bass, 34, was medically discharged from the Army in 2014 because of his Q fever and chronic fatigue symptoms.

Bailey, who specializes in infectious diseases and tropical medicine, and a national expert in Q fever, gave evidence during the second day of the trial.

Under questioning from Theo Huckle QC for Bass, Bailey said he has 90 military and 10 civilian cases in his care after they were referred to him.

He confirmed the 90 had served in Helmand and said the number of military cases “built up from 2008”, Forces Network reported.

Bailey told the court: “We have seen no new cases since 2014 from Afghanistan. Occasionally we get other military cases from other locations. Cyprus most recently.”

Bailey said he had seen “one British soldier who very, very nearly died” as a result of Q fever and subsequent complications, but there have been no UK deaths in his group.

In court documents setting out the case, it is argued that the MoD should have considered using Doxycycline, an antibiotic used to treat Q fever, as an anti-malarial drug, Forces Network reported.

The MoD however denies failing in its duty of care – pointing out that a vaccine used by some countries is not licensed in the UK.

Army food inspectors run gamut

My knapsack is my go-to place.

It’s got everything in it – passports, computer, pictures of my wife and daughters, just in case I need to make a quick exit.

warrant.officer.jul.15But there’s one thing I treasure that may seem weird: my U.S. Army warrant officer badge.

For several years when I was at Kansas State, I would give talks about food safety for folks headed to Afghanistan or Iraq to work on projects. I always felt goofy because there were many in the audience who knew far more about such safety matters than I did.

A couple of years ago I went to Germany to hang out with U.S. Army types and talk mainly about sprouts.

I had a few beers with Greg.

The Preventative Medicine and the Veterinary Public preventive medicine type functions – you actually are taking care of problems before they happen,” said Chief Warrant Office 4 Gregory Scher, veterinary technician with 86th Combat Support Hospital.

Army regulation 40-657, Veterinary/Medical Food Safety, Quality Assurance and Laboratory Service, sets out all of the job responsibilities of Veterinary Food Inspectors and Preventative Medicine Specialists.

Between the two departments, food served on military installations the world over is checked for compliance starting at the farm where it is first grown or raised to the serving line, and everywhere in between.

“As far as food safety goes, the military’s probably got the safest food in the world because we are actually monitoring the food all the way,” he said. “As far as the flavor, we take no credit.”

Scher said he was also trained by the state of Washington as a health inspector. Other officers receive degrees in health education and food science. Veterinarians that want to perform inspections can receive extra training as well, becoming Veterinary Preventative Medicine specialists.

Scher and his team deploy with 86th CSH and are in charge of checking that all food from local sources meet Army standards.

“We are responsible for the sources of food in Afghanistan and then everything that’s coming into Afghanistan, making sure it is coming in the proper condition and within the contractual requirements,” Scher said.

He said because almost all food sent from the United States would be spoiled by the time it reached Afghanistan, many contractors sub-contract with companies in countries closer, such as Germany. The veterinary core officers do commercial sanitary audits on those factories.

Although they are not part of the Federal Department of Agriculture, Scher said they fill the position for the military outside of the United States.

“We’re the ones that are going to the factories and making sure they’re within the Army and federal standards,” he said.

When the food arrives on a post, his team rechecks it to ensure it has not been contaminated in transit.

They also have the authority to extend the shelf life of foods that are near or past their use by date.

“When you go to an [Army and Air Force Exchange Services] shoppette, you’ll find a whole lot of potato chips that are half off,” Scher said. “The reason why is it takes the entire shelf life printed on the label for them to even get to Afghanistan, or else when they get there they might have just a week or two left.”

Six Afghan policemen poisoned then shot by colleagues

Food poisoning has, for centuries, been a preferred way to dispose of rivals.

Still going strong in Afghanistan.

“A cook and a policeman first food-poisoned their colleagues in their post, and after they fell unconscious they were shot dead,” provincial spokesman Ahmad Zeerak told AFP on Saturday.

He said the policeman involved in the shooting had been arrested but the cook was still at large.

Farid Ahmad Farhang, a provincial police spokesman, confirmed the incident.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, according to purported spokesman Yousif Ahmadi, who said eight policemen were

Afghan police are the key force in supporting US-led NATO forces in a war against Taliban militants.

NATO says Taliban food poisoning claim false

NATO has dismissed a claim by the Taliban that it killed five ISAF soldiers by poisoning their food.

While there was evidence of a "suspected attempt to tamper with food items" at a base in eastern Afghanistan, it was discovered before any troops could be affected.

An investigation is now underway to establish what exactly happened and whether the Taliban did indeed have any involvement.

A dining facility employee at a base run by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force alerted his supervisors to the possibility of tampering and they immediately took steps to shut down the facility before anyone was affected, FOX News Channel reported.

Earlier, AFP quoted an ISAF spokesman as saying lab tests discovered "traces of bleach" in fruit and coffee at the base in Nangarhar Province.

"There were no injuries, no fatality. The investigation is ongoing," Master Sergeant Nicholas Conner said, adding that NATO staff, Afghans and nationals from a third country worked at the dining facilities.

The Taliban claimed Monday that they had poisoned soldiers at a U.S. base in Afghanistan by recruiting a cook who worked there.

A NATO press release Monday said, "While there is a suspected attempt to tamper with food items that is under investigation, the suspected tampering was discovered before any troops could be affected."

"No one got sick," said Lt. Col. Chad Carroll, a spokesman for international forces in the east. He said that a dining facility worker told his superiors that food might have been tampered with, and when they ran tests they found "traces of bleach in a couple of foods."

"We do not know if this was intentional, if it was what the local worker was referring to, or whether it was simply spillage from cleaning," Carroll said.


206 sick after food poisoning hits NATO base in northern Afghanistan

Food poisoning has sickened 206 NATO soldiers who ate in a German army canteen at Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, defence authorities in Berlin said Thursday.

They said the 138 Germans and 68 military from other nations quickly had quickly recovered from the symptoms and overall fighting strength was not affected.

All had eaten Wednesday at the canteen in the ISAF regional headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif. The kitchen was disinfected and preparation of meals resumed there on Thursday. Army scientists were still hunting for the source of the infection.