Landmark Q fever compensation claim for Afghanistan veteran

A veteran of the Afghanistan conflict has won a landmark compensation claim after contracting Q fever.

The judgement in favour of Phillip Eaglesham, a former Royal Marine commando corporal, could open the door for similar claims against the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Mr Eaglesham, 35, contracted Q fever on a tour of duty in 2010. He developed flu-like symptoms, fatigue and sweating two days before he was due to return home, which later developed into muscular weakness, he is now in a wheelchair.

He regularly needs assistance to help him with basic needs such as brushing his teeth.

Mr Eaglesham, who lives in Taunton, Somerset with his wife and children is likely to receive a significant amount of compensation, possibly more than £1m.

The high court ruled in his favour after the MoD continually failed to file a full defence and provide copies of all documents relevant to the case despite being granted an additional 15 months by the court.

An MoD spokesperson said: “We are studying the judgment and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Speaking after the judgment, the veteran told the BBC: “It would be amazing to have a family life again rather than my wife being my full-time carer.”

Mr Eaglesham competed for Ireland at the Rio 2016 Paralympics and is now campaigning for other forces personnel who have contracted Q fever.

An MoD spokesperson said: “We are studying the judgment and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Q fever was first identified in Australia in the 1930s. It is caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii and is spread when spores from animals, more commonly by sheep, cattle and goats, are dispersed by the wind.

Doxycycline antibiotics are effective against Q fever, either as a preventative medication or if prescribed in the early stages of the condition.

It is believed both the US and French armed forces were using it in Afghanistan at the time.

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