IDF troops wounded in Gaza contend with superbug infections back home

Infectious diseases expert says fungal, antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections found in troops returning from battlefield familiar to experts from child patients from Gaza who received medical care in Israel
The Israel Society for Infectious Diseases reported on Sunday that many wounded soldiers returning from the Gaza Strip are positively diagnosed with antimicrobial-resistant infections.
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"In every hospital, we are informed that soldiers returning from the battlefield have persistent infections," says Prof. Galia Rahav, the association's head.
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תיעוד מהזיהוי של גדוד האיסוף 414 ותקיפת המחבל על ידי מסוק קרב
תיעוד מהזיהוי של גדוד האיסוף 414 ותקיפת המחבל על ידי מסוק קרב
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
"Mainly in limb injuries, we observe fungal and antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. We know that Gaza harbors highly resistant bacteria, information accumulated from previous research with doctors there, and we are familiar with these bacteria from children transferred to Israeli care from Gaza hospitals."
A significant portion of the infections found in wounded soldiers are also occasionally detected in Israel. However, they are found in individuals who were exposed to these bacteria during hospitalization and not beforehand. "Here, we see it in soldiers returning directly from the battlefield," Rahav says. "Contact with the soil and mud there leads to exposure to such resistant bacteria, as well as to fungi."
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גליה רהב
גליה רהב
Prof. Galia Rahav
(Photo: Dana Kopel)
According to her, "Even in the Gulf War, American soldiers returned with severe infections. Now, we are seeing resistant infections in IDF soldiers like Klebsiella pneumonia, multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter, fungal infections like Aspergillus, and more. We haven't seen these cases in previous wars."
The appearance of these infections also affects the treatment of soldiers, sometimes requiring surgical intervention such as debridement to remove infected tissues.
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