[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center's Division of Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) supports and oversees surveillance for emerging infectious diseases, including respiratory diseases, of importance to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). AFHSC-GEIS accomplishes this mission by providing funding and oversight to a global network of partners for respiratory disease surveillance. This report details the system's surveillance activities during 2009, with a focus on efforts in responding to the novel H1N1 Influenza A (A/H1N1) pandemic and contributions to global public health. Active surveillance networks established by AFHSC-GEIS partners resulted in the initial detection of novel A/H1N1 influenza in the U.S. and several other countries, and viruses isolated from these activities were used as seed strains for the 2009 pandemic influenza vaccine. Partners also provided diagnostic laboratory training and capacity building to host nations to assist with the novel A/H1N1 pandemic global response, adapted a Food and Drug Administration-approved assay for use on a ruggedized polymerase chain reaction platform for diagnosing novel A/H1N1 in remote settings, and provided estimates of seasonal vaccine effectiveness against novel A/H1N1 illness. Regular reporting of the system's worldwide surveillance findings to the global public health community enabled leaders to make informed decisions on disease mitigation measures and controls for the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic. AFHSC-GEIS's support of a global network contributes to DoD's force health protection, while supporting global public health.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · BMC Public Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Capacity-building initiatives related to public health are defined as developing laboratory infrastructure, strengthening host-country disease surveillance initiatives, transferring technical expertise and training personnel. These initiatives represented a major piece of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, Division of Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) contributions to worldwide emerging infectious disease (EID) surveillance and response. Capacity-building initiatives were undertaken with over 80 local and regional Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Defense, as well as other government entities and institutions worldwide. The efforts supported at least 52 national influenza centers and other country-specific influenza, regional and U.S.-based EID reference laboratories (44 civilian, eight military) in 46 countries worldwide. Equally important, reference testing, laboratory infrastructure and equipment support was provided to over 500 field sites in 74 countries worldwide from October 2008 to September 2009. These activities allowed countries to better meet the milestones of implementation of the 2005 International Health Regulations and complemented many initiatives undertaken by other U.S. government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · BMC Public Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A cornerstone of effective disease surveillance programs comprises the early identification of infectious threats and the subsequent rapid response to prevent further spread. Effectively identifying, tracking and responding to these threats is often difficult and requires international cooperation due to the rapidity with which diseases cross national borders and spread throughout the global community as a result of travel and migration by humans and animals. From Oct.1, 2008 to Sept. 30, 2009, the United States Department of Defense's (DoD) Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) identified 76 outbreaks in 53 countries. Emerging infectious disease outbreaks were identified by the global network and included a wide spectrum of support activities in collaboration with host country partners, several of which were in direct support of the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005). The network also supported military forces around the world affected by the novel influenza A/H1N1 pandemic of 2009. With IHR (2005) as the guiding framework for action, the AFHSC-GEIS network of international partners and overseas research laboratories continues to develop into a far-reaching system for identifying, analyzing and responding to emerging disease threats.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · BMC Public Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the period of 1965-1968, over two dozen Army microbiologists were deployed to various locations in Southeast Asia in support of the Vietnam War. Their role was to serve both a clinical laboratory mission/function at the mobile Army surgical hospital and mobile laboratory level as well as to perform research roles in all of the facilities. They were essential to the formulation of medical intelligence as well as to the practice of operational medicine in the deployed environment. The results of their laboratory investigations provided commanders and military physicians with critical medical information for patient care, outbreak investigation, and forensic analysis. As with many soldiers in support of the infantry and armor combat forces, most of the work occurs behind the scenes and their contributions are often left out of the historical literature. This article presents a brief overview of microbiology performed by Army microbiologists during the Vietnam War.