Friday, May 14, 2010

Deployment, funeral, disease

Topeka's KTKA reports the following (link has text and video):

Marshanna Hester: A departure ceremony to honor 55 members of the 135th Aviation Regiment Kansas Army National Guard was held today. Guard members are deploying for a year long mission in support of Operation Iraqi freedom. Family and friends gathered for one last opportunity to say goodbye to troops who are ready to get their mission started. Amber Wade: I got a daughter, so it's hard to leave. But, I mean, making a difference is very important too. Kevin Kennedy: Everybody's ready to get started because the sooner we get started, the sooner we get back home. Marshanna Hester: The soldiers will deploy to Fort Hood Texas for additional training and then go on to Iraq.

Once upon a time, the national news just buried the dead. These days they even refuse to cover the departing. Once upon a time, national news broadcasts felt so superior to local news. These days you have a better chance of hearing about the ongoing Iraq War on local news than you do on one of the network's evening news broadcasts.

Over the weekend, DoD announced the death of Sgt Esau Gonzales -- the family had announced it on Wednesday of last week. Jon Mark Beilue (Amarillo Globe-News) reported yesterday on the funeral service for Gonzales:

There were maybe 100 photos that captured the varied life of Army Staff Sgt. Esau Gonzales, 30, who died May 3 in Mosul, Iraq. He was on his third tour of duty and helped deactivate explosive devices in Iraq. The Army thus far has termed his death as a "noncombat chest wound."
But about 600 family, friends, acquaintances, military personnel and veterans groups - nearly a quarter of the population of Panhandle - came to the funeral, not just because Gonzales died, but to recall how he lived and honor his sense of duty and service, friendship and love.
"Today is the celebration of the continuation of this beautiful life," retired Col. Clayton Hoffman said. "Esau was funny, witty, ornery, mischievous; but God gave him the ability to love and to empathize with others. People were drawn to him."

In other Iraq news, Wednesday the Center for Disease Control issued an alert for a Q Fever Infection:

Increasing reports of Q fever among deployed U.S. military personnel due to endemic transmission in Iraq, as well as a large ongoing outbreak of Q fever in the Netherlands, may place travelers to these regions at risk for infection. Healthcare providers in the United States should consider Q fever in the differential diagnosis of persons with febrile illness, pneumonia or hepatitis who have recently been in Iraq or the Netherlands. Physicians are encouraged to submit samples for proper laboratory testing and contact the CDC for consultation if needed. Q fever cases in travelers should be promptly reported to proper authorities.

Since Operation Iraqi Freedom commenced in 2003, over 200 cases of acute Q fever have been reported among U.S. military personnel deployed to Iraq. Since several of these cases were identified after returning to the U.S. or when they were no longer serving on active military duty, a heightened awareness for Q fever infection occurring in military personnel and civilian contractors is necessary to ensure prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Q fever is endemic in the Middle East, and transmission may be influenced by hot, dusty conditions and livestock farming practices which may facilitate windborne spread.
In addition, a large number of Q fever cases have occurred in the Netherlands since 2007, with over 3,700 human cases reported through March 2010. Infected dairy goat farms are believed to be the source of the outbreak, and the majority of human cases have been reported in the southern region of the country. To date, no imported cases of Q fever have been reported among American travelers returning home from the Netherlands.
Because travelers to these countries may have a higher likelihood of exposure to Q fever, the CDC Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch advises that physicians evaluate travelers returning from Iraq (particularly military personnel and civilian contractors) and the Netherlands with febrile illness, pneumonia or hepatitis for potential Q fever infection. Probable and confirmed cases should be reported to their local or state health department.

Q Fever Illness

Q fever is a zoonotic disease with both acute and chronic phases caused by the pathogen Coxiella burnetii. The primary mode of transmission to humans is inhalation of aerosols or dust contaminated by infected animals, most commonly cattle, sheep or goats. Direct animal contact is not required for transmission to occur as the organism may be spread by dust or wind. Infections via ingestion of contaminated dairy products and human-to-human transmission via sexual contact have rarely been reported. Q fever does occur in the United States, but fewer than 200 cases are reported annually.
Although asymptomatic infections may occur, an unexplained febrile illness, sometimes accompanied by pneumonia and/or hepatitis, is the most common clinical presentation. Illness onset typically occurs within 2–3 weeks after exposure. The mortality rate for acute Q fever is low (1–2%), and the majority of persons with mild illness recover spontaneously within a few weeks although antibiotic treatment will shorten the duration of illness and lessen the risk of complications. Chronic Q fever is uncommon (<1%>

The following community websites updated last night:

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends