In conclusion, it is clear that asthma-related morbidity, as reflected by the need for hospitalization, and mortality are elevated among those US soldiers living in Europe, compared to those living in CONUS. website
These data also strongly suggest that there is an environmental difference, with a pronounced seasonal pattern between the two locations which accounts for this, and it therefore seems reasonable to suspect that assigning asthmatic soldiers, and presumably their family members as well, to Europe will exacerbate their disease and increase their risk of death, possibly directly related to seasonal factors. Two possible public health approaches to this dilemma would be to further characterize the environmental agent(s) responsible or to alter assignment policies to preclude sending families affected by asthma to Europe. The former approach may or may not lead to successful interdiction of the burden of disease, whereas the latter may adversely affect soldiers’ careers. The decision is, of course, a value-laden one which ultimately must reach a compromise between the health of individuals and the need to have large numbers of soldiers deployed abroad as part of national policy.