November 24, 2016
Ruling may pave way for MoD payouts to others affected by illness that left ex-Royal Marine Phillip Eaglesham in wheelchair
An Afghanistan war veteran who contracted Q fever has won a landmark compensation claim against the Ministry of Defence that could pave the way for payouts to others.Phillip Eaglesham competed for Ireland in the Rio Paralympics.Photograph: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile via Getty Images
Phillip Eaglesham, a former Royal Marine commando corporal, contracted the chronic condition two days before he was due to return home from a tour of duty in 2010.
He developed flu-like symptoms, fatigue and sweating, which developed into muscular weakness and he is now in a wheelchair.
Eaglesham, 35, who lives with his wife and children in Taunton, Somerset, is likely to receive a significant sum in damages, possibly more than £1m. He regularly requires care to help him with needs as basic as brushing his teeth.
Q fever, caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii, is spread when spores from animals are dispersed by the wind. It was first identified in Australia in the 1930s.
Eaglesham’s lawyers argued that the MoD should have known that the infection was present in southern Afghanistan and that it could have prevented it causing serious illness.
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