Mystery fever hits 18 British troops

Thursday, May 16, 2002

BAGRAM, Afghanistan -- Eighteen British soldiers serving in Afghanistan have been struck by a contagious but unidentified fever, and 350 people have been quarantined to prevent it spreading, the top British commander in the coalition said Wednesday.

Brig. Roger Lane said the 18 ailing men were all military medical personnel serving at the main allied air base at Bagram, about 30 miles north of the capital, Kabul.

Two of the soldiers were seriously ill and their next of kin have been notified, Lane said. One was evacuated to Britain for treatment while the other was flown to a U.S. military hospital in Germany. The rest are being cared for at Bagram.

Soldiers first started reporting symptoms three days ago, including fever, diarrhea and vomiting, Lane said. The illness was similar to meningitis, but medics did not believe that was the culprit.

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