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Open Access Research article

Chlamydia trachomatis infection rates among a cohort of mobile soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 2005–2010

Shilpa Hakre1*, Robert J Oyler2, Kenneth A Ferrell2, Fang Li1, Nelson L Michael3, Paul T Scott3 and Bruno P Petruccelli1

Author Affiliations

1 United States Military HIV Research Program, Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Bethesda, MD, USA

2 Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, NC, USA

3 United States Military HIV Research Program, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Bethesda, MD, USA

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:181  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-181

Published: 20 February 2014

Abstract

Background

Fort Bragg, a large Army installation with reported high Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) infection rates, is characterized by a highly mobile population and a surrounding Ct-endemic community. We assessed the rates of Ct incidence and recurrence among the installation’s active component Army personnel and determined the association of soldier transience, sociodemographic factors, and history of sexually transmitted infection (STI) with these rates.

Methods

A cohort of soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg during 2005 to mid-2010 was followed for incident and recurrent Ct infection using laboratory-confirmed reportable disease data. Linkage to demographic and administrative data permitted multivariate analysis to determine association of covariates with initial or recurrent infection.

Results

Among 67,425 soldiers, 2,198 (3.3%) contracted an incident Ct infection (crude incidence, 21.7 per 1,000 person-years). Among soldiers followed for incident infection, 223 (10.6%, crude incidence 110.8 per 1,000 person-years) contracted a recurrent Ct infection. Being female, of lower rank, under 26 years of age, of non-white race, single, or with a high school diploma or less was significantly associated with incident Ct infection. Having breaks in duty or having deployments during follow-up was associated with a lower infection rate. Among women, having prior deployments was associated with a lower rate of both incident and recurrent infection. Specifically associated with recurrent infection in women was age under 21 years or no education beyond high school.

Conclusions

This analysis reaffirms risk factors for Ct infection determined in other studies. In addition, infection risk was lower for more mobile soldiers and tied to the specific location of their regular duty assignment. The findings support the STI prevention efforts at Fort Bragg and the surrounding community, regardless of how often or for how long soldiers have deployed for military operations.

Keywords:
Chlamydia; Army; Mobility