A former soldier is suing the UK’s Ministry of Defense over its failure to protect him from contracting Q fever in Afghanistan, Britain’s Guardian reported on Tuesday.
Wayne Bass, a private from the 2nd Battalion, the Mercian Regiment, said his life had been ruined after he developed the infection while serving in Helmand in 2011 and not getting antibiotics by the army, the Guardian reported.
The five-day trial, starting at Central London county court on Monday, will examine the extent of any duty owed by the army to Bass in relation to Q fever, and whether that duty was breached.
Justin Glenister, a partner at Hilary Meredith Solicitors, which is acting for Bass, said there are other similar cases being prepared.
The Guardian reported that another Afghanistan war veteran who contracted Q fever won a compensation claim against the MoD last year. Phillip Eaglesham, a former Royal Marine commando corporal, contracted the chronic condition two days before he was due to return home from a tour of duty in 2010.
Eaglesham’s lawyers had argued that the MoD should have known that the infection was present in southern Afghanistan and that it could have prevented it causing serious illness.
Q fever is caused by a bacterium typically found in cattle, sheep, and goats. The animals transmit the bacteria in urine, feces, milk and other fluids.
These substances can dry inside a barnyard where contaminated dust can float in the air.
Humans get Q fever when they breathe in the contaminated air.
In rare cases, drinking unpasteurized milk can cause infection but the bacteria cannot be spread directly from one human to another. The exact frequency of Q fever isn’t known because most cases aren’t reported.
Complications of Q Fever are not that common but can occur if the infection affects a person’s heart, liver, lungs, or brain.
According to the US’s CDC, chronic Q fever occurs in less than five percent of infected patients.
The most common and serious complication of Q fever is a heart condition called bacterial endocarditis, which is the inflammation of the inside lining of the heart chambers and heart valves, which is called the endocardium.
This can cause damage to your heart valves and may be fatal if it isn’t treated.