ABOARD USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (NNS) -- Since USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) arrived on station off the coast of Indonesia Jan. 1 to provide support for Operation Unified Assistance, the ship's medical department has been focused on making sure none of the Sailors who have volunteered to go ashore to help out are accessible to tropical diseases.
The preventative medicine implementation for combating any possible tropical disease began almost as soon as the Lincoln Carrier Strike Group received word to steam to the stricken area after a port call visit to Hong Kong. Every Sailor off Lincoln that has stepped ashore has had to go through a screening process by medical department, which included a healthy dose of education.
"And DEET, DEET, DEET," emphasized Cmdr. Jamin T. McMahon, about the insect repellent lotion that has been issued to all hands going ashore. "We made sure we told people how to put it on, have reinforced the notion that when people are ashore working in the heat and humidity, that they need to reapply it. And people need to take their doxycycline tablets."
Individuals are required to take doxycycline tablets one to two days prior to entering country, and are required every day while there, and for 28 days after leaving the malaria transmission zone.
"Our plan is to take everyone back home without one single case of tropical disease," said Cmdr. Jamin T. McMahon, Lincoln senior medical officer, of Gig Harbor, Wash. "The number one goal here in medical is to protect our troops, as well as help others. We don't put our people in harm's way or on a operation such as this without protecting them the best we can."
McMahon and the entire medical department on Lincoln constantly stress awareness in dealing not only with tropical-borne diseases, but also food-borne diseases. All are preventable, he stressed, by following proper sanitary habits and procedures.
"What we're doing is the same as going into port with a force protection plan," explained McMahon. "We're taking no chances. If everyone follows the rules laid down, we'll go home healthy."
For related news on Navy tsunami relief operations, visit the Focus on Tsunami Relief Operations page at www.navy.mil/local/tsunami.
For related news, visit the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn72.