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Zoonotic and infectious disease surveillance in Central America: Honduran feral cats positive for toxoplasma, trypanosoma, leishmania, rickettsia, and Lyme disease.

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Abstract

A recent zoonotic and infectious
disease field surveillance study in Honduras resulted in the discovery of Toxoplasma, Trypanosoma, Leishmania, Rickettsia, and
Lyme disease with statistically high prevalence rates in a group of feral cats. All five diseases–Toxoplasmosis, Trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis, Rickettsiosis, and
Lyme disease–were confirmed in this group of cats having close contact to local civilians and U.S. personnel. These diseases are infectious to other animals and are known to infect humans as well. In the austere Central and South American sites that Special Operations Forces (SOF) medics are deployed, the living conditions and close quarters are prime environments for the potential spread of infectious and zoonotic
disease. This study?s findings, as with previous veterinary
disease surveillance studies, emphasize the critical need for continual and aggressive surveillance for zoonotic and infectious
disease present within animals in specific areas of operation (AO). The importance to SOF is that a variety of animals may be sentinels, hosts, or direct transmitters of
disease to civilians and service members. These studies are value-added tools to the U.S. military, specifically to a deploying or already deployed unit. The SOF medic must ensure that this value-added asset is utilized and that the findings are applied to assure Operational Detachment-Alpha (SFOD-A) health and, on a bigger scale, U.S. military force health protection and local civilian health.

© 2010.

J Spec Oper Med. 2010 Summer;10(3):41-3.

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