Thursday, December 22, 2016

Jamaica Investigating Viral Outbreak Among JDF Recruits


With multiple subtypes of avian spreading on three continents, the steady drumbeat of MERS cases coming out of Saudi Arabia, and the rising tide of seasonal flu (mostly H3N2) around the globe, stories like the one that appeared yesterday concerning a mystery viral outbreak affecting Jamaican Defense Force recruits are easy to overlook.

Luckily, FluTrackers has been on top of the story, and while `mystery' outbreaks generally turn out to be something fairly routine once lab results are in, up until now the cause of the outbreak remains elusive. 

Army barracks (and ship's quarters) are highly conducive for spreading viral infections. In 2007 we saw a re-emerging Adenovirus 14 hit a Texas Air Force Base, which required some recruits to be hospitalized, and nearly every year we hear of pneumonia outbreaks among Russian Soldiers.

Quite famously, an outbreak of H1N1 Swine Flu struck Fort Dix, New Jersey in early 1976, raising concerns of an imminent pandemic (which never realized). 
Reportedly PAHO and the CDC are providing technical assistance, and so we should be hearing more soon. In the meantime, two reports from the Jamaica Observer.

Mystery illness hits JDF recruits

BY KIMONE FRANCIS Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

DE LA HAYE... we have had initial discussions with PAHO and we have been in constant collaboration with them (Observer File)

THE Ministry of Health was yesterday still trying to identify the respiratory infection that 80 Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) recruits contracted and which has left six admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), one of whom is said to be in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

“[There] is still no organism as yet, but we know it’s not the H1N1. We know it’s not an influenza virus but there are other things that cause the same symptoms, so we’re waiting to complete those studies,” Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at the ministry Dr Winston De La Haye told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

The infected recruits, he said, have been experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Dr De La Hay confirmed that 57 recruits were treated by the JDF’s medical team and have since returned to the intake; 17 were treated at UHWI and discharged; five admitted to wards and one to the ICU. 

      (Continue . . .)

Although Influenza A has apparently been ruled out, there are a lot of viruses that can cause `flu-like' symptoms, among them adenoviruses, coronaviruses, rhinoviruses, and parainfluenza viruses.  
An updated report released this morning indicates the lab results are still not in.

Illness that hit soldiers still not identified

Thursday, December 22, 2016   
Medical authorities have not yet been able to identify the specific respiratory infection that struck 83 Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers at the army’s New Castle training base in St Andrew.

(Continue . . .)

Hopefully we'll hear from some outside laboratories soon.

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