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No Link in Cases of Pneumonia

August 06, 2003|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — A team of medical experts investigating a spate of serious pneumonia cases among U.S. troops in Iraq and nearby nations has found no evidence that the illness spread from person to person, officials said Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. James Peake, the Army's surgeon general, last week sent investigators to determine the cause of more than 100 pneumonia cases since March 1 among troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 15 most seriously ill troops were put on ventilators. Of those, two soldiers who had served in Iraq died, said Col. Robert DeFraites, chief of preventive medicine in the Army surgeon general's office.

Ten of those cases occurred in Iraq, with others reported in Kuwait, Qatar and Uzbekistan, DeFraites told a Pentagon briefing.

DeFraites said investigators, trying to determine any relationship among the cases, found that two of the 15 cases were caused by the streptococcus bacterium, the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. There are more than 30 known causes of pneumonia.

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