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Health Ministry investigating whether rodents caused mystery illness affecting soldiers

Published:Wednesday | December 28, 2016 | 9:06 AM

The Health Ministry has ruled out influenza as the cause of the illness affecting Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) recruits and is now investigating rodents as the possible source of the infection.

In the past two months, 80 recruits have fallen ill with a flu-like respiratory illness.

However, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Winston De La Haye says the ministry is now sure the mystery illness is not influenza.

He says the range of tests being carried out on the samples has now been widened as a result.


Dr De La Haye says the ministry is now collecting environmental samples from the location at which the soldiers were based.

He says more samples will be sent overseas for testing.

The Government and the Pan American Health Organisation are collaborating with Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the cause of the illness.

Meanwhile, Dr De La Haye says the critically ill recruit who was flown to Florida last week for treatment has shown significant improvement.


Chief Medical Officer, Dr Winston De La Haye

Dr De La Haye also says there has been no new infection among JDF members.