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AFHSB's health surveillance program supports Defense Department global health engagement efforts

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joshua Douglass, left, an aerospace medical technician, watches as Liberian health care workers properly put on their personal protective equipment as part response by the Defense Department operation to provide logistics, training and engineering support during the Ebola virus outbreak. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Terrance D. Rhodes) U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joshua Douglass, left, an aerospace medical technician, watches as Liberian health care workers properly put on their personal protective equipment as part response by the Defense Department operation to provide logistics, training and engineering support during the Ebola virus outbreak. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Terrance D. Rhodes)

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Both the U.S. Armed Forces’ operational posture and the emergence and spread of infectious diseases relevant to military operations have evolved in recent decades. Worldwide, people are more mobile and interconnected than ever before. At the same time, land use in the developing world is changing in such a way that long-dormant pathogens have the opportunity to re-emerge and become health problems for a significant proportion of the population again. These conditions threaten not only the health of populations, but also the security and stability of nations around the world.

The Defense Department has long recognized the link between global health and security, and its global health engagement efforts address the intersection of these concerns. Defense Department health agencies are primarily focused on protecting the health of the force and medical readiness, but their global health engagement efforts also address other security priorities for the U.S. government such as helping partner nations build health capacity, combatting global health threats (e.g., emerging infectious diseases and antibiotic-resistant bacteria), and supporting U.S. government humanitarian assistance and disaster relief initiatives.

The Global Emerging Infections Surveillance (GEIS) section of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch (AFHSB) supports global health engagement by leveraging a network of Defense Department laboratory partners that are positioned in critical locations globally and work with partner nations to combat infectious disease threats. Defense Department laboratories around the world execute coordinated, integrated surveillance efforts to detect and respond to febrile and vector-borne infections, respiratory infections, antimicrobial-resistant and sexually transmitted infections, and enteric infections regardless of the source. These efforts are conducted in more than 70 countries and serve to protect the health of a highly mobile force by informing risk assessments and countermeasure development, providing support to outbreak response efforts when they arise, and supporting operational access and freedom of movement in high-threat areas.

In support of the Defense Health Agency’s combat support efforts, the GEIS network’s ultimate goal is early, accurate detection of emerging infectious disease and rapid communication regarding those that potentially threaten the health of U.S. forces so that preventive measures can be taken to enable operational readiness and mitigate the risk of mission failure. Surveillance efforts are conducted in partnership with partner nation ministries of health and defense, thereby improving their health capacity by enabling rapid identification and response to infectious disease threats to their population and strengthening relationships with key U.S. partners. In this way, the GEIS program supports the U.S. geographic combatant commands (GCCs) in their areas of responsibility, advancing their campaign plans, lines of efforts, and end states. Additionally, by providing direct technical support to GCC-led international scientific coalitions and strategic engagement efforts, GEIS enhances Defense Department global health engagements and advances information sharing with partner nations. These activities ultimately better inform force health protection decision making at the GCCs and enable global health security for partner nations and U.S. government assets abroad.

Throughout December, in celebration of the Global Health Engagement Month, AFHSB will showcase some of the surveillance efforts conducted by GEIS’s laboratory partners around the world. These stories are available on DHA’s Global Health Engagement Spotlight page.

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Joint efforts in search of a cure for tropical diseases

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1/11/2018
Dr. Gissella Vasquez, deputy director of the Entomology Department at the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6, inspects a vector trap at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. The Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element, NAMRU- 6 and the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences partnered for an ongoing tropical disease study, testing live samples and collecting vectors that could be potential carriers for diseases. (U.S. Army photo by Maria Pinel)

Malaria. Dengue. Zika.

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Guarding the health of service members

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1/9/2018
James Coker focuses on protecting service member health every day as deputy chief of the Public Health Division at the Defense Health Agency. Here he is exploring a Mount Denali glacier “off the clock” while stationed in Alaska as a public health flight commander at Elmendorf Air Force Base. (Courtesy photo)

The vital role of the Public Health Division

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Deployed Airman provides critical care anywhere

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1/5/2018
Air Force Capt. Asha Wyatt, 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron aeromedical evacuation operations officer and flight nurse, poses for a photo at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 28, 2017. Wyatt is deployed from Pope Army Airfield, N.C., and has been in the Air Force for six years. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Divine Cox

When injured airmen need to be transported, the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron’s airmen provide patients with lifesaving emergency and prehospital care

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Complications and Care Related to Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery among Active Component Service Women U.S. Armed Forces, 2012 – 2016

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1/5/2018
Maternal complications and delivery outcomes are important components of the overall health and well-being of reproductive-age service women. This analysis provides an update on pregnancy complications and characterizes the counts, rates, and trends of several specific pregnancy complications. FINDINGS •	55,601 U.S. service women whose pregnancies resulted in 63,879 live births had 657,060 medical encounters •	For all age groups, percentages of live births affected by preterm labor decreased, but during 2012 – 2016, the percentages of pregnant service members diagnosed with obesity increased. •	The percentage of pregnant service members affected by gestational diabetes was more than twice as high for obese women, compared with non-obese women (12.4% vs. 5.5%). Bar graph shows the number of medical encounters with a primary (first-listed) diagnosis of any pregnancy-related complication or indication for care decreased each year between 2012 and 2016. Access the full report in the November 2017 MSMR (Vol. 24, No. 11). Go to: www.Health.mil/MSMR  Background image: New born being provided medical attention by nurse. Secondary image: babies of diverse background on a blanket.

This analysis provides an update on pregnancy complications and characterizes the counts, rates, and trends of several specific pregnancy complications.

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Contraception among active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012 – 2016

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1/5/2018
Because the majority of women serving in the Armed Forces are of childbearing age, and women’s military career opportunities have expanded into combat roles, contraceptive health care is an increasingly important public health issue. The lack of available, population-based descriptive information on contraceptive use among U.S. service women has generated questions and concerns about ready access to these medical products. This infographic summarizes the annual prevalence of permanent sterilization, as well as use of long – and short-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs and SARCs, respectively), contraceptive counseling services, and use of emergency contraception from 2012 through 2016, among active component service women. FINDINGS •	2012 through 2016, Sterilization decreased from 4.2% to 3.6% LARC use increased from 17.2% to 21.7%; SARC use decreased from 38.5% to 30.4%. •	Emergency contraception use increased from 0.4% to 1.9%. •	Among deployed women, the average annual prevalence of permanent sterilization was 4.2%. •	For deployed women, LARC use was 17.9% SARC use was 28.0%. •	Emergency contraception use among deployed women was 0.4%. •	262,907 (76.2%) women of childbearing potential (WOCBP) used either a LARC or a SARC at some time during the surveillance period. •	The vast majority of service women have utilized at least one form of contraception, and women are selecting LARCs in greater numbers with each passing year. The bar graph displays information on the annual prevalence of contraceptive utilization, by type, service women of child-bearing potential, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012– 2016. Graphic displayed: contraception option. Access the full report in the November 2017 MSMR (Vol. 24, No. 11). Go to: www.Health.mil/MSMR

This infographic summarizes the annual prevalence of permanent sterilization, as well as use of long – and short-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs and SARCs, respectively), contraceptive counseling services, and use of emergency contraception from 2012 through 2016, among active component service women.

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Gestational diabetes among pregnant service members, active component, U.S. Armed Forces 2012 – 2016

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1/5/2018
Gestational diabetes is an abnormal increase in blood sugar levels that can adversely affect the health of both a pregnant woman and her baby. During 2012 – 2016, 4,017 (6.3%) of active component female service members who had live births were affected by gestational diabetes. Women aged 25-34 and 35-49 years had consistently higher annual prevalences of gestational diabetes than younger females. The percentage of pregnant service members affected by gestational diabetes was more than twice as high for obese women as for non-obese women (12.4% vs. 5.5%). The percentage of live births affected by gestational diabetes increased with increasing age and was highest among Asians/Pacific Islanders. Access the full report in the November 2017 MSMR (Vol. 24, No. 11). Go to: www.Health.mil/MSMR

This infographic documents the incidence and prevalence of gestational diabetes pregnant service members, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012 – 2016.

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Airman builds medical relationships in Vietnam

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12/29/2017
Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Cody Butler, a physical therapist and commander of the 78th Medical Group Clinical Medicine Flight, poses with other members of his engagement team in Tam Ky, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, Nov. 30, 2017. Butler was in Vietnam as part of a team seeing patients and building relationships with local physicians during the humanitarian assistance engagement Operation Pacific Angel Vietnam 2017. (Air Force photo by Jonathan Bell)

Operation Pacific Angel ensures the militaries in the Pacific region are able to work together should a humanitarian assistance need arise

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Global respiratory surveillance program detects dangerous pathogens to keep armed forces healthy

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12/21/2017
Data from the Department of Defense Global Respiratory Pathogen Surveillance Program are presented to the Food and Drug Administration's annual Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting to help inform the vaccine strain in the U.S. for the upcoming season that is administered to U.S. Armed Forces for health protection and readiness. (Photo Courtesy of  Defense Imagery Management Operations Center)

To reduce the impact of respiratory pathogens on service members, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch coordinates a global respiratory surveillance program for the military. Learn how the program detects dangerous pathogens to keep armed forces healthy.

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Live births among female service members, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012 – 2016

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12/21/2017
Did you know…?  •	From 2012 – 2016, there were 63,879 live births to women of childbearing potential in the active component. The overall live birth rate was 64.9 live births per 1,000 person-years (p-yrs). The live birth rate decreased steadily from 69.8 per 1,000 p-yrs in 2012 to 59.7 per 1,000 p-yrs in 2016. The decrease was primarily driven by declining rates among women in their 20s. Overall, live birth rates were highest among women who were: •	30-34 years old •	Army members •	In healthcare occupations •	Married Of the total 63,879 live birth deliveries: •	24.7% were cesarean •	75.3% were vaginal Pie chart depicting this information displays. United States map displays showing the highest numbers of deliveries during the surveillance period reported by military hospitals at: •	Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, VA (7.4%) •	Naval Medical Center San Diego, CA (6.1%) •	The Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, TX (4.1%) •	Womack Army Medical Center, NC (3.8%) •	Tripler Army Medical Center, HI (3.7%) Live birth rates were broadly similar among the race/ethnicity groups, although the overall rate was slightly higher among American Indians/ Alaska Natives. Access the full report in the November 2017 MSMR (Vol. 24, No.11). Go to: www.Health.mil/MSMR

This infographic documents live births among female service members, active component, U.S. Armed Forces from 2012 – 2016.

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Pregnancies and live births among female service members

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12/21/2017
Women have been able to serve officially in the U.S. military since 1901. Both the number of women serving in the active component and their occupational roles have steadily increased and expanded. Currently, almost one in seven active component service members are female and more than 95% of military occupational specialties are open to women. This infographic summarizes data on the demographic and military characteristics of women including women of childbearing potential (WOCBP) in the active component of the U.S. Armed Forces during 2012 – 2016. Data on pregnancy-related care and birth rates are also presented. FINDINGS •	In 2016, WOCBP comprised the vast majority of active component service women. •	202,849 women served in the active component of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps. 197,947 (97.6%) were WOCBP. Pie chart displays depicting this information. •	In 2016, 13.1% of all WOCBP had at least one pregnancy-related event. Pie chat displays depicting this information. Female stick figures display to show visual of the largest proportions of WOCBP. Breakdown of WOCBP by service: •	Army (32.9%) •	Air Force (30.0%) •	Navy (29.7%) •	Marine Corps (7.5%) Pie chart displays to visually depict breakdown of WOCBP by service. The largest proportions of WOCBP were: •	In a communications / intelligence occupation (32.3%) •	Junior enlisted rank (46.5%) •	Non-Hispanic white (43.4%) •	20 – 24 years old (34.3%) Live births: •	There were 63,879 live births during the surveillance period. •	Overall live birth rate was 64.9 live births per 1,000 person-years (p-yrs). This rate of live births decreased steadily from 69.8 per 1,000 p-yrs in 2012 to 59.7 per 1,000 p-yrs in 2016. Line graph displays this information. Rates of live births were highest among: •	Women who were 30 – 34 years old •	Enlisted or junior officer rank •	Army •	In healthcare / intelligence occupations •	Married Access the full report in the November 2017 MSMR (Vol. 24, No. 11). Go to: www.Health.mil/MSMR

This infographic summarizes data on the demographic and military characteristics of women including women of childbearing potential (WOCBP) in the active component of the U.S. Armed Forces during 2012 – 2016. Data on pregnancy-related care and birth rates are also presented.

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Pregnancies among female service members, Active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012 – 2016

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12/21/2017
With the increasing numbers of service women and the expansion of roles available to women within the military, understanding the epidemiology of pregnancy is important for both the health of U.S. service women and the readiness of the U.S. fighting force, two closely related issues. Between 2012 – 2016, 344,536 unique women of childbearing potential (WOCBP) served at least 1 day in the military, and of those, 132,466 spend at least 1 day as a recruit trainee. Of the 224,718 WOCBP who served at any time in 2016, 13.1% had at least one pregnancy-related event during that year. A “pregnancy-related event,” refers to a health care encounter (visit) for which the record contains a diagnosis code for either pregnancy or a positive pregnancy test. In 2016, the highest prevalence of pregnancy-related events was among service women 30-34 years of age (16.8%) and among senior enlisted women (13.7%). Pie chart displays depicting the information. The annual prevalence of pregnancy-related events decreased slightly, from 14.2% in 2012 to 13.1% in 2016. Line plot graph displays this information. FINDINGS •	Prevalence of pregnancy-related events was approximately evenly distributed among the race/ethnicity categories and military occupation groups. •	A slightly higher percentage of WOCBP in the Army (14.5%) had pregnancy-related events compared to WOCBP in the other services. •	A higher percentage of women who were married (21.4%) had a pregnancy-related event, compared with those in the single (5.7%) or “other” (8.8) categories. •	Only 0.2% of women who served during a recruit training period in any given year had a pregnancy-related event. Access the full report in the November 2017 MSMR (Vol. 24, No. 11). Go to www.Health.mil/MSMR.  Graphic on infographic shows a pregnant service member.

With the increasing numbers of service women and the expansion of roles available to women within the military, understanding the epidemiology of pregnancy is important for both the health of U.S. service women and the readiness of the U.S. fighting force, two closely related issues. This infographic documents pregnancies among female service members, ...

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RHC-P reflects upon 2017 accomplishments

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12/20/2017
Regional Health Command-Pacific reflects upon major accomplishments celebrated this year in support of its mission of providing combatant commanders with medically ready forces and ready medical forces conducting health service support in all phases of military operation.

Regional Health Command-Pacific reflects upon major accomplishments celebrated this year in support of its mission of providing combatant commanders with medically ready forces and ready medical forces conducting health service support in all phases of military operation.

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Global Influenza Summary: December 17, 2017

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GEIS funds medical surveillance at military laboratories to assist Combatant Commands

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12/14/2017
Nazia Rahman, right, manager of the Uniformed Services University’s Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) Repository, discusses a poster on the sexually-transmitted infection with U.S. Air Force Major Trinette Flowers-Torres, lead for GEIS’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Focus Area, left, and Navy Commander Franca Jones, front, chief of GEIS, examine poster on AMR surveillance. (AFHSB photo by Briana Booker).

At the crux of infectious disease surveillance is the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch’s (AFHSB) Global Emerging Infections Surveillance (GEIS) Section that funds the majority of surveillance at military laboratories. Learn about AFHSB's role as a Combat Support Agency within the Defense Health Agency (DHA).

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It's a small world after all with rise in global health engagements

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12/11/2017
Dr. Mansour Niang (left), a Senegalese gynecologist, and Dr. Anthony Donaldson, a major in the Vermont Air National Guard, perform surgery during a joint medical readiness training exercise at a hospital in Dakar, Senegal. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Simon Flake)

Efforts’ benefits go beyond protection at home, abroad

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