The basic training base Nitzanim was evacuated on Monday because of a tick infestation, during which more than 20 soldiers and staff members were bitten.
The base was evacuated two years ago due to the threat of rocket attack. Israel Defense Forces chief of land forces Brig. Gen. Ilan Peretz and senior IDF medical officials ordered the basic training base near Ashdod be evacuated on Monday.
At first the soldiers were treated individually, with two of them being sent to the hospital for tests, as the IDF believed the problem could be addressed in a limited fashion. However, later in the week, additional cases of bitten soldiers surfaced. The afflicted soldiers were sent home for a few days of rest.
The IDF decided to spray the base with insecticides, but this also failed to rid the base of the ticks. Therefore, the drastic and unusual move of evacuating the base of both soldiers and staff was made. Only security personnel remain on base.
A soldier serving on the base told Ynet that soldiers complained of skin irritations already on Friday. "It got worse and worse. We can't say where or how it got started," he said.
In the meantime, all the soldiers and staff have been sent home until Sunday. Until then, the base will be sprayed again with insecticides.
The IDF Spokesperson Unit confirmed details of the report and said that tick bites are not dangerous in and of themselves, but in rare cases may spread disease-causing bacteria. The soldiers were instructed to take note of medical symptoms such as fever should they appear and to contact medical personnel if needed.
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