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February 14, 1996

US Military Medical Presence Increases in Bosnia

JAMA. 1996;275(6):422. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530300006002

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OUTSIDE TEMPERATURES in the former Yugoslavia are expected to rise into the low teens Celsius (50s Fahrenheit) next month. This raises US military physicians' concerns about rodent-and insect-borne diseases that might join other threats to the health of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) peace enforcers there.

A disease threat-assessment team from the 520th Theater Army Medical Laboratory, US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, Aberdeen (Md) Proving Ground, deploys to Bosnia-Herzegovina this month to target environmental health risks and advise US military commanders about how to respond.

So far, cold weather, land mines, and poor sanitary conditions in the area have been the major health and safety concerns. One US soldier has died of an apparent heart attack and two have been seriously injured, one by a land mine and the other by electrical current that arced from a power line above the train transporting him to Bosnia.