23 June 2010

Flesh Eating Parasite Attacks US Troops In Iraq And Afghanistan

It may sound like something out of a bad horror movie but the Baghdad Boil is a very real threat to military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Alsaleh, a Jordanian-born military contractor who works for Falls Church-based Global Linguist Solutions, is a victim of leishmaniasis, a disease carried by sand flies that is sometimes called Baghdad Boil. He remembers that when he first got to his mattress in an old building on a contingency base, it was covered in sand flies. He brushed them away.

"It looked like a bug bite," Alsaleh said of the lesions he got on his neck and elbow while the brigade he was working with was based northwest of Mosul. "And it grew and grew and grew, and then started to ooze. Then it gets bigger and starts to ooze again."

The disease, which the World Health Organization says affects 12 million people worldwide, received considerable media and political attention in 2003 during the U.S. invasion of Iraq, when hundreds of soldiers began to spot red bumps on their skin that swelled for weeks before rupturing into seeping wounds. The number of cases dropped to a handful a month by last year, but as more U.S. troops make their way into Afghanistan, doctors and military personnel are warning that the number of cases could tick back up.

By: Shelldrake

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