Epidemic infectious gastrointestinal illness aboard U.S. Navy ships deployed to the Middle East during peacetime operations - 2000-2001

Mark S. Riddle*, Bonnie L. Smoak, Scott A. Thornton, Joseph S. Bresee, Dennis J. Faix, Shannon D. Putnam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Infectious gastrointestinal illness (IGI) outbreaks have been reported in U.S. Navy ships and could potentially have an adverse mission impact. Studies to date have been anecdotal. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of weekly reported disease and non-battle injury health data collected in 2000-2001 from 44 U.S. Navy ships while sailing in the 5th Fleet (Persian Gulf and nearby seas). Results: During this period, II possible IGI outbreaks were identified. Overall, we found 3.3 outbreaks per 100 ship-weeks, a mean outbreak duration of 4.4 weeks, and a mean cumulative ship population attack rate of 3.6%. Morbidity, represented by days lost due to personnel being placed on sick-in-quarters status, was higher during outbreak weeks compared to non-outbreak weeks (p = 0.002). No clear seasonal distribution was identified. Conclusion: Explosive outbreaks due to viruses and bacteria with the potential of incapacitating large proportions of the crew raise serious concerns of mission impact and military readiness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalBMC Gastroenterology
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes

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