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Disease Prevention

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what action he has taken to prevent the spread of disease among troops in the Gulf; [123599](2) what plans he has to improve prevention of the spread of disease among troops in battle. [123598]

Preventing transmission of disease is an important element of force health protection for troops participating in military action, including those who deployed to the Gulf. We seek to achieve this through a combination of medical intelligence to identify threats from endemic diseases and potential biological warfare agents; appropriate medical countermeasures, such as vaccination and antimalarial drugs; and physical protection measures, such as insecticide impregnation of uniforms and use of mosquito nets and appropriate insect repellents. In addition, educating personnel in the use of good hygiene and sanitation practices and enforcement of appropriate Health and Safety regulations play an important part.Medical personnel deployed to the Gulf included infection control and environmental health specialists and Service personnel were given briefings on health issues covering prevalent diseases, hazards arising from potential environmental exposures, personal hygiene, sexual health, stress, and acclimatisation to living in arduous environments.The armed forces will continue to develop best practice to prevent the spread of disease among deployed troops, taking account of any lessons identified from current and future military operations.