According to the US Army Fort Benning Facebook page on Feb. 21:
There have been four cases of complications with serious Strep infections within the basic training population at Fort Benning. These particular cases should be characterized as a cluster of cases and not as an epidemic.
Soldiers who were in close contact with these cases were tested immediately and those who tested positive were treated with antibiotics.
Additionally, as a preventive measure, all basic training Soldiers and cadre will receive antibiotics following recommended CDC/Army Surgeon General Guidelines.
There are no Soldiers in isolation. Fort Benning training will continue as planned while health care professionals continue to closely follow the overall health of our trainee population. This has not affected the surrounding community at Fort Benning.
In a follow-up today, The Army Times reports that the number of soldiers affected is now six. An initial group of four soldiers prompted Benning’s Martin Army Community Hospital to screen other soldiers they might have come in contact with beginning Feb. 13, the statement said. That screen found two cases of strep throat on Feb. 15.
One parent commented on Facebook:
My son was one of the four. He actually said he had been throwing up for a couple of days. The doc said he had the worst case of strep she had ever seen and his temp was 101.5 They had to give him an IV(4 bags of fluid) and a “peanut butter” shot. He was better as of his last letter dated 13 FEB.
The Facebook post nor the Army Times identified the exact etiology of the illness, just calling it “strep infections”. Possibly Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A streptococcus (GAS).
According to the CDC, GAS are bacteria that can live in a person’s nose and throat. The bacteria are spread through contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. It is also possible for group A strep to spread from contact with sores from a group A strep skin infection.
Most group A strep infections are relatively mild illnesses such as strep throat, scarlet fever, and impetigo (a skin infection).
Serious, sometimes life-threatening, group A strep disease may occur when bacteria get into parts of the body where bacteria usually are not found, such as the blood, muscle, or the lungs. These infections are termed “invasive group A strep disease.” Two of the most serious, but least common, forms of invasive group A strep disease are necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.
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