The US Army has sent a team of specialists to Iraq to investigate 15 serious pneumonia cases which have caused two fatalities among US troops there, officials said Friday.
The six-person team, including infectious disease experts and laboratory officers who will take samples of soil, water and air, was en route to Iraq, the Army Surgeon General's office said.
The cases of pneumonia were so serious that patients had to be put on ventilators to breathe and were evacuated from the region. Two soldiers died, 10 recovered and three remained hospitalized.
The mysterious disease has hit US troops in geographically dispersed areas and from different units, the Army Surgeon Generaland US Army Medical Command said in a statement Thursday. The cases were also spread over time since March.
Officials said there was no evidence that any of the cases was caused by exposure to chemical or biological weapons, or environmental toxins.