Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Pakistan Leishmaniasis Outbreak 2012

KP asks WHO to help stop cutaneous leishmaniasis outbreak  May 1, 2012

PESHAWAR – The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Health Department has sought help from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to contain an outbreak of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), an official said

“During the last three months, about 889 cases of CL have been recorded from 14 districts,” Dr. Muhammad Iqbal of the Health Department told Central Asia Online April 25. “We have requested the WHO to intervene.”

Nowshera District had the most cases, 214, he said.

KP is requesting injectable medicines and help with insecticide spraying, he said, adding that patients cannot afford the Rs. 3,500 (US $39) cost of CL treatment.

CL is a skin infection, often transmitted by sand flies


May 1, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Leishmaniasis, Pakistan | , , , | Leave a comment

A Military Cutback We Can’t Afford: Fighting Tropical Diseases

Leishmaniasis at The Iraq Infections

“In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans”

Barbara Herwaldt CDC on Leishmaniasis

 Contractors will be even less likely to be diagnosed and/or treated timely or effectively.   Diagnoses normally occurs long after they’ve had contact with their families.

Peter Hotez & James Kazura at The Atlantic

In recent months, many politicians and presidential hopefuls have called for budget reductions, and many have specifically targeted military spending for cutbacks. Unfortunately, even programs proven to be cost effective are vulnerable to cuts. Medical research for our troops is no exception to this rule — programs such as the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) often find themselves low on the priority list despite their crucial role in saving the lives of our troops on the battlefield and here at home.

One important area of research is tropical medicine. During World War II and the Vietnam War, more than one million service members acquired tropical infections such as malaria, dengue fever, hookworm, and typhus, and many of these diseases continued to plague our veterans after they returned home. Today, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan still face formidable tropical disease threats, especially from a disease transmitted by the bite of sand flies known as leishmaniasis, which can cause a disfiguring ulcer in one form, and a serious systemic condition that clinically resembles leukemia in another. In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans.

WRAIR’s leishmaniasis diagnostic laboratory is the only one of its kind in the world, so each time funding is slashed our military loses considerable expertise and capabilities in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of this devastating disease. For example, in the years prior to the Gulf War, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was officially decommissioned and all research was halted. Only after cases of leishmaniasis among U.S. forces exposed to sand-fly bites in the Iraqi desert were the remaining leishmaniasis experts at WRAIR quickly assembled and tasked with making up for lost time. In 2002, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was again dissolved only to be urgently activated once more with the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The interruptions to the WRAIR leishmaniasis program are part of much larger budget cuts across all of WRAIR’s tropical infectious disease research programs. There is no end to the irony of such cutbacks given that they coincide with the activation in 2008 of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), charged with fighting the war on terror across the African continent. Today, sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of cases of tropical diseases anywhere in the world. Many of these tropical infections, such as river blindness and African sleeping sickness, have been shown to destabilize communities and may actually promote conflict in the region.

Please see the original and read more here

January 21, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Africa, Bug Watch, Central America, Civilian Contractors, Columbia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Safety and Security Issues, Sudan | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deployment brain injuries, amputations jumped in 2010, U.S. Army reports

There are no numbers available for Contractors though there are more Contractors than Military in the War Zones.

By Bryant Furlow at Epinewswire

Despite the Obama administration’s ramping down of combat operations in Iraq, 2010 saw the highest number of troops with reported traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) for any year of the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan — and more than twice the number of deployment-related amputations seen in 2009, according to a newly-released report by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center.

2010 saw 7,270 deployed troops hospitalized or treated for TBIs, or about 20 new cases per day, the report shows.

That is more than any other year between 2003 and 2010, and represents a 34 percent jump from 2009′s count of 5,818 soldiers with TBI. Only 2008 came close to matching the 2010 numbers, with 7,263 soldiers with brain injuries during deployment. Between 2003 and 2010, a total of 33,446 soldiers have been hospitalized or treated for TBIs during or within 30 days of deployments, according to the report.

Only raw counts, not incidence rates, were described in the report.

The actual numbers are likely higher than reported, however. Data for 2010 was compiled in January and February 2011, for example, before administrative records for hospitalizations in late 2010 had all been reported. And even though the Pentagon acknowledges TBI symptoms may not emerge, or may not be recognized, until after soldiers return home from combat deployments, the new study only reports TBIs diagnosed during deployment or within 30 days of the end of a soldier’s deployment. Furthermore, a footnote in the report reveals that more than 2,700 soldiers hospitalized or treated for TBI during deployment were excluded from analysis because of pre-deployment histories of TBI.

Only a soldier’s first TBI diagnosis is counted, so the report does not reveal how many soldiers have suffered repeated brain injuries.

Reported brain injuries prior to 2008 are also likely underestimates.  During that time, military physicians noted in memos obtained by epiNewswire that reporting of combat injuries was incomplete. And as epiNewswire revealed in 2007, the Army had not yet implemented by that year a long-standing order to screen returning combat veterans for brain injuries.

Last year also saw a dramatic rise in amputations during or within a year of deployment, from 88 amputations in 2009 to 182 in 2010, the report shows. That’s more than any year of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan except 2007, when 205 soldiers underwent deployment-related amputations.

A total of 1,138 soldiers had deployment-associated limb amputations between 2003 and 2010, according to the new report.

The report shows a slight increase in sand fly-vectored leishmaniasis infections (called the “Baghdad boil” by soldiers), from 48 cases in 2009 to 65 cases in 2010. While those numbers likely represent genuine declines from the 622 cases reported in 2003, epiNewswire reported in 2007 that the Army had curtailed field reporting of leishmaniasis infections from Iraq, resulting in underestimations of actual infection rates.

The new report was released March 4, and details the numbers of deployment-associated TBIs, pulmonary emboli and deep-vein thrombosis, amputations, heterotopic ossification (aberrant bone growth following trauma), severe pneumonia, and leishmaniasis between 2003 and 2010.

Source: U.S. Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. Deployment related conditions of special surveillance interest, U.S. Armed Forces, by month and service, January 2003-January 2011 (data as of 01 March 2011). Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, February 2011;18(2):13. (Report released March 4, 2011.)

Please see the original at Epinewswire

March 6, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Improvised Explosive Devices, Iraq, Leishmaniasis, Traumatic Brain Injury | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leishmaniasis incidences reported this year Thailand

The Nation Thailand

Relevant authorities are closely monitoring Leishmaniasis incidences in the country. This year, three incidences have been reported

Of the three patients, one succumbed to this communicable disease in September and her fiveyearold nephew is among the patients.

“Three other people in their neighbourhood are now under surveillance because they have developed symptoms that can be associated with the disease,” Dr Paisan Kuaarun said yesterday in his capacity as the deputy head of Trang Public Health Office.

Leishmaniasis symptoms include fever, fatigue, weight loss, ulceration, and skin darkening. Infected sand flies spread this disease

November 19, 2010 Posted by | Leishmaniasis, Safety and Security Issues, Thailand | , | Leave a comment

Kala Azar outbreak claims more than 300 lives in Southern Sudan

Please take precautions if you are working in places like this

At Yahoo Starting Point

“The fact that we see these high numbers so early, in the traditional low season of the disease, indicate that we are on the brink of a massive outbreak later in the year,” Koert Ritmeijer, a health adviser for Doctors Without Borders, said.

Health officials are struggling to contain and treat an outbreak of a parasitic tropical disease in Southern Sudan, The Associated Press reported.

More than 6,000 cases of Kala Azar have been reported, making it the worst outbreak in the region since 1991. According to the World Health Organization, 303 people have died from it since September 2009.

Largely unknown in the developed world, leishmaniasis is transmitted by the bite of certain types of sandflies that live in forest areas in sub-tropical and tropical climates. Visceral leishmaniasis — the most severe form of the disease — is also known as Kala Azar, which means “black fever” in Hindi. Patients with Kala Azar suffer from high fever, fatigue, anemia, swelling of the liver and spleen and are often described as “wasting away.” The majority of cases in Southern Sudan involve patients under the age of 17.

Nine out of 10 Kala Azar patients will die within weeks if they do not receive proper treatment, the most common of which is sodium stibogluconate. The drug is injected into patients over the course of a month, but it is expensive, exceedingly painful and can cause toxic reactions.

November 11, 2010 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Leishmaniasis, Sudan, Toxic | , , | Leave a comment

13 million Afghans at risk of contracting Leishmaniasis, says WHO

Leishmaniasis in Afghanistan Relief Web

14 October 2010 | Kabul, Afghanistan – The World Health Organization (WHO) today launched its first global report on neglected tropical diseases. In light of an ongoing Leishmaniasis outbreak in Herat, Afghanistan, WHO along with the Ministry of Public Health and the Afghan Red Crescent Society used this opportunity to raise awareness about and advocate for neglected diseases in Afghanistan, with special emphasis on Leishmaniasis, a disease that threatens the health of 13 million vulnerable Afghans, especially women and girls.

In Kabul, commonly considered as the world capital of [Cutaneous] Leishmaniasis, the number of new reported cases dramatically rose from the estimated yearly figure of 17,000 to 65,000 in 2009, mainly among women and girls.

“This number is likely to be the tip of the iceberg as cases are grossly underreported owing to poor diagnostic tools and the stigma that is attached to this disease,” claimed Peter Graaff, WHO Representative to Afghanistan.

[Cutaneous] Leishmanisis is a parasitic disease transmitted through the bite of certain species of sandfly. The major symptom is skin sores which erupt weeks to months after the person has been bitten.

Leishmaniasis is both preventable and curable. Preventable through bed nets, and curable through medical treatment.

Editor’s note:  There is NO STERILE CURE FOR LEISHMANIASIS so do your best not to get it

Leishmaniasis is treatable, not curable

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Leishmaniasis, Safety and Security Issues | , , | Leave a comment

Upsurge of kala-azar (leishmaniasis) cases in Southern Sudan

8 October 2010 ¦ Juba, Sudan — Sudan Tribune

Recurrent outbreaks of visceral leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease also known as kala-azar, have been reported in Southern Sudan, with 6363 cases and 303 deaths (case fatality rate of 4.7%) recorded since outbreaks began in September 2009. The number of cases is more than six times higher than the same period starting in 2007 (when 758 cases were recorded) and 2008 (582 cases). Most affected patients (70%) are children aged under 15 years who already suffer from concurrent malnutrition and other secondary illnesses.  Read more here

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Safety and Security Issues, Sudan, Toxic | , , , , | Leave a comment

IT’S PEAK LEISHMANIASIS season in Iraq and Afghanistan.

About the sand fly and leishmaniasis

Editor’s note:  Far more than 600 soldiers have been infected with leishmaniasis and there is no way to know how many civilian contractors have been infected.  If you happen to be one of those infected you would not refer to the disease as “minor skin lesions”.

IT’S PEAK LEISHMANIASIS season in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military health officials are redoubling efforts to arm deployed troops with prevention measures.

The disease, spread by the bite of a sand fly, has infected more than 600 troops since early 2003. Most broke out with minor skin lesions.

The disease is caused by parasites transmitted via sand-fly saliva and comes in three forms: cutaneous, affecting the skin; mucosal, affecting the mouth, nose and throat and potentially disfiguring; and visceral, affecting internal organs and potentially fatal if untreated.

The incubation period is about three to six months, meaning that symptoms don’t show themselves soon after someone is bitten.

Preventive-medicine officials are deployed to those countries to brief troops about protections, hand out insecticides containing DEET and make sure that troops have mosquito netting for their cots. They also hold pre- and post-deployment briefings.

And entomologists this year are spraying the ground of military bases and camps to kill the sand flies, said Col. Glenn Wortmann, program director of the infectious-disease fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington.

“With the initial [Iraq] invasion, that was not a top priority,” Wortmann said. “Not getting shot was a top priority. What’s new is now are there making sure everyone has DEET, everyone has mosquito netting, and the entomologists are spraying insecticides.”

See Leishmaniasis a Hazard at www.americancontractorsiniraq.org

October 5, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Iraq, Leishmaniasis, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leishmaniasis in Iraq and Afghanistan a Hazard, but not a War Hazard

There will be no “Defense of Freedom Medal” for being infected with the Leishmania parasite.

Leishmaniasis is a one celled parasite normally contracted via the bite of a female sandfly.

These sandflys and the parasite they carry are endemic to many countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Locals and visitors to these endemic areas are always at risk of contracting Leishmaniasis if precautions are not taken to keep from being bitten.

Leishmaniasis is no more a War Hazard than Malaria or any of the regular work place accidents that occur while working overseas yet are not reimbursable under the War Hazards Act.

So unless the female sandflys have taken up arms and joined Al Qaeda and the Taliban, which would require a complete reversal regarding their views on women…..

The War Hazards Tribunal up in Ohio needs to beware the DBA Insurance Company attempts to paint them as insurgents.

This is the first in our series of reports on Leishmaniasis which most of you who worked in the War Zones were exposed to.

Statistically, it is likely that many of you carry this parasite unawares………

May 22, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Leishmaniasis, Toxic, War Hazards Act | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment