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Epidemiology of UK Military Exercise SAIF SAREEA 3: future planning for hot climates

Abstract

Introduction Epidemiological data captured from military exercises and operations can highlight treatment requirements specific to operating in certain environmental conditions. Such data is invaluable to enable accurate planning for future exercises. Epidemiological data were collected during Exercise SAIF SAREEA 3 (SS3) to provide an insight into medical provision requirements for low-tempo military operations in hot, desert climates.

Method Epidemiological data was collected from all consultations conducted during the exercise within the LAND Medical Reception Station, 24 August–14 November 2018, using Epi-NATO surveillance systems.

Results Of the 1414 total consultations recorded, 759 were first presentations and 665 were follow-up consultations, with 35 referrals made to hospitals. 1348 days of limited duties were given and 258 working days were lost. The most common coding reported for consultations were ‘non-battle non-sport related injuries’, ‘sport related injuries’ and ‘dermatological'.

Discussion The data highlight the most common cause of injuries and the role of assets such as dental, sexual and mental health services for future deployments. A number of explanations are considered in relation to the patterns identified and the effect on future planning for working in hot climates. Furthermore, Exercise SS3 had reduced numbers of personnel requiring deployed Role 2 or host nation hospital services, which again raises further considerations for future deployments.

  • primary care
  • epidemiology
  • general medicine (see internal medicine)
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