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Influenza monitoring by the US military
Date:7/7/2009

San Diego, July 7, 2009 The recent global swine flu outbreak has underscored the critical need for good surveillance and rapid access to epidemiological data. The US military, starting with early monitoring efforts in the 1970s, has developed a broad-based influenza monitoring system. In an article published in the September 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers describe this little-known national jewel that has repeatedly made notable contributions to global influenza control through close collaboration with CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the WHO, and many other partners.

National concerns about emerging infectious diseases led to the creation of the Department of Defense Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (DoD-GEIS) in 1997. This program has 6 objectives relevant to influenza: (1) To isolate and identify circulating influenza viruses, (2) To detect new virus variants or subtypes for possible vaccine modification, (3) To identify influenza outbreaks, (4) To determine the incidence of influenza-like illness among sentinel military populations at high risk, such as basic training populations, (5) To prevent or control endemic and pandemic influenza outbreaks, and (6) To conduct global, operationally relevant, laboratory-based influenza surveillance.

According to the Institute of Medicine, "The DoDGlobal Emerging Infections System, through its avian influenza/pandemic influenza activities at the [DoD] overseas laboratories and headquarters, has contributed greatly to the development of laboratory and communications infrastructures within partner countries. Beneficial effects can be seen from current DoD-GEIS efforts in 56 countries to assist its public health partners in building capacity through training and support of laboratory and communications infrastructures."

Writing in the article, Col. James Neville, MD, MPH, of the US Air Force School of Aerospace
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Contact: AJPM Editorial Office
eAJPM@ucsd.edu
858-457-7292
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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