Unforeseen Risk: Leptospirosis and the U.S. Special Operations Community

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Grambusch DM, Hoedebecke KL 12(3). 36 - 42 (Journal Article)

Leptospirosis is a bacterial zoonosis with worldwide distribution and is potentially lethal to those infected if left untreated. Due to the global posture of the U.S. Special Operations community, there is a seemingly perfect overlap of the regions in which they deploy and areas with concurrent endemic leptospirosis infection. Furthermore, Special Operations Forces (SOF) personel are known for working by, with, and through the host nation defense force, who tend to be commonly affected and often serve as a reservoir for this infection. Other risk factors including the usage of infected military working dogs, contaminated training sites, and certain recreational activities associated with water increase the danger of exposure for this cohort. Due to this increased risk of leptospirosis by U.S. Special Operations service members, medical providers within this community must understand and utilize proper preventive medicine, prophylaxis, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment for this potentially lethal infection.

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