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Ex-Soldier Loses High Court Appeal Over Q Fever Battle With MOD

A Central London County Court trial had ruled against former soldier Wayne Bass in 2019.

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A former soldier who said his life has been made "hell" by the Q fever he contracted while serving in Afghanistan, has lost the latest round of a compensation battle with the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Wayne Bass, 35, fell ill while serving with the 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment in Helmand Province in 2011, and continues to suffer with a debilitating fatigue syndrome.

He sued the MOD for damages, claiming it failed to protect him from contracting the bacterial infection by not giving him antibiotics as a precaution to prevent illness.

After Judge Heather Baucher ruled against Mr Bass in March, concluding that the MOD had not breached its duty of care to him.

Mr Bass took his case to the High Court in London in December in a bid to overturn the ruling.

However, Mr Justice Martin Spencer today dismissed the appeal.

The judge said the MOD was entitled to take a "cautious approach" and wait for more evidence about the use and effectiveness of preventative antibiotics in relation to Q fever, before taking the "radical step" of changing medication for 20,000 troops each year.

The MOD, which has always denied any breach of duty in relation to Mr Bass's illness, had opposed the appeal.

Hilary Meredith Solicitors, the legal team representing Mr Bass, said in a statement: "This is a devastating blow for Mr Bass who remains in poor health as a result of the Q fever he contracted in Afghanistan.

"While this judgment effectively ends his legal action, there is so much more the MOD can still do to help him and veterans like him, who, through no fault of their own, are left without adequate support upon leaving the services.

"Moving forward, we will continue to hold the MOD to account to ensure it better directs its corporate mind to the safety of those who serve."

Mr Bass initially developed flu-like symptoms and was diagnosed with Q fever by an Army doctor.

Intravenous antibiotics failed to cure him and, following periods in hospital and at the MOD's Headley Court rehabilitation centre in Surrey, he was diagnosed with Q fever chronic fatigue syndrome and discharged from the Army in 2014.

Humans can catch Q fever by breathing in dust from the faeces of infected farm animals such as sheep, cattle and goats.

The NHS says the bacterial infection is "usually harmless, but can cause serious problems in some people".

Cover image: a microscope picture of the Coxiella Burnetii bacteria, which causes Q Fever (Picture: Wikipedia).