While epidemics are known to accompany wars, the unintentional involvement of militaries in the spread of pathogens or the emergence ofoutbreaks is less documented. The deployment of soldiers has resulted in several epidemics in civilian populations; for example, the spread of smallpox, pandemic influenza, sexually transmitted infections, malaria,multiresistant bacteria, Panton-Valentine leukocidin-positive Staphylococcus aureus, and, more recently, Vibrio cholerae has been attributed to military deployment and activities. Such soldiers-borne epidemics are favored by lack immunity of militaries against pathogens, inappropriate control measures, lack of supervision, disrespect of health rules and laws, poor compliance with hygiene and preventive measures, crowdedness of military camps, long-range mobility and mixing of troops from different origins. While peacekeeping operations are aimed at helping civilian populations, such soldiers-borne epidemics may have dramatic health and political consequences that could hamper the success of the mission. Therefore, the international organizations and the states that mandate such troops within civilian populations weakened by war or social disorganization, have to ensure an appropriate health screening and support of the soldiers and a close monitoring of potentially epidemic diseases.
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