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

Medicine, Brooks City-Base, Texas, and colleagues state, "During seven complete influenza seasons, the DoD Global Laboratory-Based Influenza Surveillance Programcoordinated and expanded influenza surveillance efforts among the uniformed services and with DoD partner nations overseas, and operated in concert with WHO and CDC programs. As a result, the DoD and other global communities benefited from improved surveillance and expanded influenza laboratory and epidemiologic capability. The generated data and information supported timely, informed decision making in response to threats, expanded the data set used to select the components for seasonal influenza vaccines, and provided candidate seed viruses for possible use in influenza vaccines used worldwide."

In a commentary in the same issue, Dr. Patrick W. Kelley, MD, DrPH, of the Institute of Medicine, The National Academies, notes that, "The somewhat unexpected emergence of novel H1N1 in Mexico, rather than in the anticipated Asian setting, highlights a lesson learned about the need for comprehensive global influenza surveillance. This is a lesson that geographically diverse foreign military health systems may be well-positioned to help address."

He continues, "The success of the US DoD system, and the particular epidemiologic characteristics of military populations and military health systems, suggest that global influenza surveillance and response could be more comprehensive and informative if other military organizations around the world took advantage of their comparative organizational advantages to emulate, extend, and institutionalize the US DoD approach."


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