The PLA Navy & Deployment-related Medical Conditions


Research Paper Title

Descriptive epidemiology of deployment-related medical conditions and shipboard training-related injuries in a Chinese Navy population.

Background

The purpose of this study was to investigate the deployment-related medical conditions and shipboard tactical training-related injuries in a Chinese Navy population. The study was a retrospective study with the Chinese Navy.

Methods

The medical records of 1543 Navy crewmembers from 2011 to 2015 were collected. The distribution and incidence rate (IR) of different types of medical conditions were provided and compared between the Aden Gulf deployment and nondeployment periods. The occurrence of military training-related injuries in crewmembers receiving 12-week shipboard tactical training was compared with that of 956 marines and 4371 recruits receiving combat and physical training, respectively. The anatomic locations and types of training-related injury were analysed.

Results

Compared with the nondeployment period, the percentages of the following injuries were significantly higher during deployment: injuries and certain other consequences of external causes (16.97% vs 7.76%), diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (15.40% vs 10.34%) and mental and behavioral disorders (11.23% vs 3.45%); however, respiratory system diseases had a lower percentage (19.84% vs 28.35%). Far seas deployment significantly increased the IRs of acute upper respiratory infection, skin and eye infection, sprains and low back pain as well as aphthous ulcer, insomnia, and seasickness (P < 0.05, 0.01 or 0.001). Shipboard training induced higher IRs of injuries to the upper extremities, spine and back and head and face than physical training and a higher incidence of head and face injury than combat training (P < 0.05 or 0.001). Physical training had higher IRs of overuse injuries than shipboard and combat training (P < 0.001). The IR of fracture was higher during combat and physical training than shipboard training (P < 0.01 and 0.001).

Conclusions

The Chinese Navy has experienced novel health issues in crewmembers in recent years. Corresponding countermeasures should be taken to address deployment-related medical conditions and shipboard training-related injuries in the future.

Reference

Qi, R.R., Wang, J.Q., Pan, L.L., Zhou, W., Liu, J.L., Ju, J.T. & Cai, Y.L. (2016) Descriptive epidemiology of deployment-related medical conditions and shipboard training-related injuries in a Chinese Navy population.  Public Health. 141, pp.170-177. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.09.014. Epub 2016 Oct 20.

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