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May 15, 1996

Spring Brings Tick Threat to Peace Enforcers

JAMA. 1996;275(19):1465. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530430009005

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AS THE HALFWAY point approaches in the year-long North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) peace-enforcement effort in Bosnia-Herzegovina, military physicians are putting more emphasis than ever on keeping US troops healthy.

US Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps personnel in the former Yugoslavia are carrying laminated plastic cards reminding them of the diseases that can be transmitted via various vectors there, particularly ticks (JAMA. 1994;272:337-340 and p 1470 in this issue). With the arrival of warmer weather, ticks are expected to be a problem until as late as November.

Early Winter Withdrawal  Although there is talk of a few troops staying longer, November and early December are when US forces are supposed to withdraw (JAMA. 1996;275: 24). President Clinton made a public pledge to extract US troops within a year of the December 20,1995, date when NATO assumed peace-enforcement duties from the United Nations, meaning that pull-out planning could begin