Avian Influenza: Potential Impact on Sub-Saharan Military Populations with High Rates of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
TRADOC ANALYSIS CENTER FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FOREIGN MILITARY STUDIES OFFICE
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Several sub-Saharan militaries have large percentages of troops with human immunodeficiency virus HIVacquired immunodeficiency syndrome. With the arrival of avian influenza in Africa, the potential exists that some of those soldiers might also become infected with H5N1, the virus responsible for the disease. Two possible scenarios have been postulated regarding how such a coinfection of HIV and H5N1 might present. 1 Soldiers already weakened by HIVacquired immunodeficiency syndrome rapidly succumb to H5N1. The cause of death is a cytokine storm, essentially a runaway inflammatory response. 2 The weakened immune system prevents the cytokine storm from occurring however, H5N1 is still present, replicating, and being shed, leading to the infection of others. A cytokine storm is particularly dangerous for individuals of military age, as evidenced by the large number of soldiers who died during the 1918 influenza epidemic. If large numbers of sub-Saharan soldiers suffer a similar fate from avian influenza, then military and political instability could develop.
- Medicine and Medical Research
- Military Forces and Organizations