Dozens of troops in Samawah suffering gastric problems

Kyodo

About 60 Ground Self-Defense Force troops deployed in Samawah, Iraq, suffered diarrhea due to unknown causes earlier this week, but the number has decreased to some 30, a GSDF public relations officer said Saturday.

The officer said troops began suffering diarrhea several days ago but nobody has had high fever or other serious symptoms, and none has been hospitalized.

“There has been no trouble conducting our reconstruction assistance activities,” the official said.

The GSDF has been looking into the cause of the illness but has not changed meals served to the troops, the officer said.

The number reached its peak at some 60 on Wednesday and about 30 saw doctors in the Samawah camp Friday night, the officer said. The number of afflicted GSDF personnel represents more than 10 percent of the approximately 550 GSDF members stationed in Samawah.

Agency officials said some GSDF members have had such symptoms since the start of the troop deployment in February.