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March 5, 1997

Danger in Many Forms Lurks Around US Military Medical Bases in Bosnia

JAMA. 1997;277(9):700-701. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540330024009

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RENEWED fighting among warring factions in the former Yugoslavia is a continuing threat to US military medical and other personnel supporting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) peace-enforcement effort.

But there are other dangers as well. NATO troops patrol in convoys of at least 4 vehicles, supported by heavy weapons, and await efforts of an estimated 170 000 refugees to return to the 4-km demilitarized area between Bosnian Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. Military medical people from the United States and other NATO member countries are standing by, taking care of the various illnesses and other problems that arise in their soldier populations and hoping that they will not be called on to treat battle casualties.

In the meantime, there are concerns about land mines—2 local women accidentally triggered a mine near a US base in Bosnia-Herzegovina recently, resulting in the death of one and serious injury of the other—rabies and