H1N1 a factor in Soldier's death
October 1, 2009
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Autopsy results have concluded that the recent death of a Fort Jackson Basic Combat Training Soldier was caused by pneumonia due to the H1N1 flu.
The report, released Sept. 30, states that Spc. Christopher Hogg, 23, of
Deltona, Fla., died Sept. 10 from complications from the H1N1 virus.
"First and foremost, we here at Fort Jackson send our most sincere condolences to Specialist Hogg's family and friends," said Brig. Gen. Bradley May, Fort Jackson Commander. "This great young man entered our Army as a volunteer to serve our country while it remains at war. On behalf of a grateful nation, we salute and honor his patriotism and his service."
Hogg was in his fifth week of training with Company D, 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, when he became ill Sept. 1 and sought treatment from Moncrief Army Community Hospital. He was admitted to a Columbia hospital Sept. 3 for further care.
For the last several months Fort Jackson leaders have been preparing and taking proactive measures to prevent a possible outbreak of the H1N1 strain of flu. This past summer, a high-level working group drawn from military, medical, logistical and safety leaders was formed to analyze and address the many issues surrounding increased flu season risk. This resulted in a plan to reduce the potential number of Soldiers and family members who become ill with either strain of the flu. This group will continue to meet regularly throughout the flu season to assess the situation and modify methods as necessary.
"I want to assure you that everyone at Fort Jackson aggressively works to protect our Soldiers and families from all aspects of influenza," May said. "Our efforts continue to focus on prevention and - if necessary - isolation and treatment while simultaneously performing our essential mission of training Soldiers to defend our nation."
Preventive measures that have been implemented include:
-- Emphasizing personal hygiene actions such as proper and frequent hand washing; use of hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available; coughing into the crook of the arm instead of the hands; keeping hands away from the eyes, nose and mouth; avoiding close contact with people who display influenza-like symptoms and encouraging those who are ill to remain home until fever free for 24 hours.
-- Soldiers and cadre have been provided with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
-- Hand sanitation stations have been placed across the installation.
-- Barracks are managed to ensure adequate living space and that bunks are oriented head to toe, thus creating "breathing zones," since most respiratory diseases are transmitted primarily via large virus-laden droplets propelled by coughing and sneezing.
-- Standards for barracks hygiene have been improved to include; using bleach and water to clean all surfaces and cleaning high-use areas daily. These include bathroom floors, sinks, showers, toilets, doorknobs and light switches.
-- On a weekly basis, all soiled laundry and linen are laundered, all floors are mopped and horizontal surfaces are cleaned.
-- Every three weeks, Soldiers turn in blankets, pillows and mattress covers for laundering.
-- At the end of each training cycle, all barracks and barracks furniture are given a thorough cleaning using the same methods.
-- There has been an increase in the frequency of checking the air quality within the barracks to reduce airborne transmitted viruses.
"During the past six months we have isolated and treated Soldiers with influenza like illness. We believe we have succeeded in limiting the spread of influenza because of this focus," May said. "We have consistently adhered to the guidelines established by CDC for testing and evaluation for influenza like illness."
Every new Soldier arriving at Fort Jackson is screened for flu like symptoms. Seasonal flu vaccinations began Sept 15. New Soldiers will get vaccinations upon arrival. Vaccination teams are in place to vaccinate the Soldiers already here as well as all eligible beneficiaries.
Health officials expect to receive the H1N1 vaccine in October and will begin vaccinating shortly thereafter in accordance with established guidelines.
"We are doing everything possible to protect Soldiers, family members and civilians who live, work and visit Fort Jackson," May said.