Medical Surveillance Monthly Report (MSMR). Volume 9, Number 6, September/October 2003
ARMED FORCES HEALTH SURVEILLANCE CENTER SILVER SPRING MD
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Throughout history, military populations have been at high risk of acute respiratory illnesses. In the US military, acute respiratory illnesses continue to be leading causes of hospitalizations and ambulatory visits of service members. The most frequent acute respiratory illnesses of US service members are upper respiratory infections URIs that generally have mild and self-limited clinical courses. URI rates are particularly high among recruits, especially during fall-winter seasons. Infections of the lower respiratory tract e.g., pneumonias are less frequent, but more severe, than URIs. Finally, there are sporadic cases and rare outbreaks of severe, life threatening acute respiratory illnesses, mainly in recruit camps and during rigorous field training. For example, in November-December 2002, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, experienced the largest documented outbreak of Group A streptococcal pneumonias in the United States since 1968 one death was associated with the outbreak. More recently, there were 19 cases of severe acute respiratory illnesses among US service members deployed in the area of responsibility of the US Centeral Command including Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, and Djibouti. Most affected service members recovered without sequelae however, two of the cases were fatal. The etiologies of most of the cases remain unknown. There have not been overall assessments of the nature, incidence, or spectrums of severity of acute respiratory illnesses including pneumonias that affect military populations. This report is an overview of frequencies, severities, and trends since 1990 of respiratory illnesses among US service members that were diagnosed as pneumonia or influenza or acute respiratory failuresevere acute pulmonary insufficiency.
- Medicine and Medical Research