Authors:Matthias Halfter, Ulrich Müseler, Ralf Matthias Hagen, and Hagen Frickmann
The study was performed to assess the infection risk of German police officers on predominantly tropical deployments, mostly United Nations missions, with gastrointestinal pathogens.
Police officers were offered PCR-based screening for gastrointestinal pathogens before and after deployment. The screening panel comprised enteroinvasive bacteria (Salmonella spp., Shigella spp./enteroinvasive Escherichia coli, Campylobacter jejuni, and Yersinia spp.), enteropathogenic protozoa (Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia duodenalis, Cryptosporidium spp., and Cyclospora cayetanensis), as well as enteric helminths (Ancyclostoma spp., Ascaris lumbricoides, Enterobius vermicularis, Hymenolepis nana, Necator americanus, African Schistosoma spp., Strongyloides stercoralis, Taenia saginata, Taenia solium, and Trichuris trichiura).
G. duodenalis (n = 3), C. jejuni (n = 2), Salmonella spp. (n = 1), Shigella spp./enteroinvasive E. coli (n = 3), and S. stercoralis (n = 3) were detect in 12 out of 133 (9.0%) police officers. The majority had shown gastrointestinal symptoms on deployment and all were asymptomatic at the time of medical assessment. The major infection sites were Sub-Saharan Africa followed by Northern Africa and the Middle East.
Deployment of police officers to tropical deployment sites on United Nations missions is associated with a considerable acquisition risk of gastrointestinal pathogens in a quantitatively relevant minority. Post-deployment screening is advisable to facilitate therapeutic and hygiene-related consequences.