21/01/2019 11:21 GMT

Ex-Soldier Sues Ministry Of Defence After Contracting Q Fever In Afghanistan

Wayne Bass said his life had been ruined after he picked up the bacterial infection.

A former British soldier is suing the Ministry of Defence after it failed to protect him from contracting a bacterial infection usually found in animals.

Wayne Bass said his life had been ruined after the British Army did not supply antibiotics which would have prevented him from contracting Q fever in Afghanistan.

The condition can cause symptoms similar to the flu, which Bass experienced, while some people might not notice a difference within themselves.

In serious cases, chronic Q fever can cause damage to vital organs, including lungs and the brain.

What Causes Q Fever?

The illness is the result of a bacterium called Coxiella burnetii, which is found in cattle, sheep and goats.

It can be transmitted through animal urine, milk or birth fluids, which lands on barnyard dust that then floats into the air.

Humans might also catch it if drinking unpasteurised milk. 

Vets, farmers and people who work around at-risk animals are among those most susceptible to contracting the illness, but it is not contagious between humans.

The fever, which is usually diagnosed in goats, sheep and cattle, can be caught by humans if they breathe in dust contaminated by infected animals.

Bass, a former private in the 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, was deployed to Helmand Province in 2011.

He was later diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome as a result of the fever, after antibiotics failed to cure him.

He now has trouble walking and experiences breathlessness, and spent time at the MoDs rehabilitation centre in Surrey.

A five-day trial is set to begin on Monday at Central County Court.

Justin Glenister, partner at Hilary Meredith Solicitors, said: “This is the first case in which the question will be asked whether the MoD had a duty to protect soldiers against this known risk of Q fever, which we say was a preventable risk, and what steps it ought to have taken to protect them.

“There are other similar cases being prepared.”

The MoD said it would be inappropriate to comment while legal proceedings were ongoing.