Monkey Bites among US Military Members, Afghanistan, 2011 - - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC
Table of Contents
Volume 18, Number 9–October 2012
Monkey Bites among US Military Members, Afghanistan, 2011
Military members deployed to Afghanistan face many risks; among these are bites from Macaca mulatta monkeys and possible subsequent infections. In August 2011, a 24-year-old US Army soldier died of a rabies infection contracted while in eastern Afghanistan. This tragedy highlights the threat that animal bites pose to deployed military members.
AbstractBites from Macaca mulatta monkeys, native to Afghanistan, can cause serious infections. To determine risk for US military members in Afghanistan, we reviewed records for September–December 2011. Among 126 animal bites and exposures, 10 were monkey bites. Command emphasis is vital for preventing monkey bites; provider training and bite reporting promote postexposure treatment.
During 2001–2010, a total of 643 animal bites among deployed US military members were reported (1). Dogs were implicated in 50% of these bites, but several other animals pose risk as well. Prominent among these is the nonhuman primate M. mulatta (rhesus macaque), native to and commonly kept as a pet in Afghanistan (2) (Figure). Risks from M. mulatta monkey bites include physical trauma and/or infection with B-virus (Macacine herpesvirus 1), oral bacteria (including Clostridium tetani), and rabies virus. Although not well characterized in Afghanistan, the risk for exposure to M. mulatta monkeys has been described (3) for researchers (4), tourism workers (5), and US pet owners (6). We examined this risk for US military members deployed to eastern Afghanistan. The work presented herein was reviewed and deemed exempt from internal review board oversight by the Joint Combat Casualty Research Team, the human subjects review board responsible for oversight of human subjects research affecting US military members in Afghanistan.