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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 38-43

An outbreak of varicella among troops on the move: A challenge in field epidemiology

1 Department of Community Medicine, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 HQ 3 Corps (Medical Branch), C/o 99 APO, India
3 Regimental Medical Officer, C/o 99 APO, India
4 Medical Specialist, Indian Level III Hospital, UN Mission in South Sudan
5 Consultant Pathology, Command Hospital Southern Command, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Col Kunal Chatterjee
Department of Community Medicine, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune - 411 040, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmms.jmms_10_18

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Background: Military population, by virtue of peculiarities of service conditions, such as congregation in living barracks or during exercises present a vulnerability to spread of contagious diseases. Institution of control measures during outbreaks becomes a challenge in Field areas due to operational commitments. The present paper highlights an outbreak investigation conducted in field and some lessons learnt. Methods: This investigation was conducted among troops who had arrived at a new location and soon after took part in training and area familiarisation and among whom chicken pox occurred. Constant troop movement resulted in challenges to institute control measures, which had to be tailored to suit the situation. Aggressive intervention measures such as segregation, contact tracing and strict surveillance resulted in control of the outbreak. Results: A non-immunised military population reported its first two cases during travel in military special train to the battalion's new location. Subsequently cases kept occurring over two months and the constant movement of troops propagated the outbreak, resulting in total of twenty cases. Timely prevention measures successfully broke its runaway nature and controlled the outbreak. Conclusion: Early identification of cases and aggressive intervention measures were successful in effective control of outbreak.

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