Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

AFHSB tracks bugs worldwide to protect service members

Group of people in forest gathering samples MAJ Jaree Johnson (far right) and her team conducted field insecticidal resistance surveillance to establish a baseline for potential resistant mosquitoes on Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Global Emerging Infections Surveillance | Bug-Borne Illnesses

Ticks, mosquitoes, and other blood-feeding arthropods can transmit dangerous pathogens to U.S. military personnel. The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch’s (AFHSB) Global Emerging Infections Surveillance (GEIS) program monitors these ticks and mosquitoes—also called vectors—for disease and the pathogens they carry in order to prevent the spread of diseases to Service members.

“The U.S. military has a long history of battling vector-borne diseases. Protecting our Service members is vital to the Department of Defense labs, host countries, and regional partners who conduct disease surveillance work to understand the threats that may impact military personnel and local populations,” said Navy Capt. Guillermo Pimentel, GEIS chief.

The GEIS Febrile and Vector-borne Infections (FVBI) program focuses on four areas:

  • identifying pathogens that cause fever in humans, like dengue or Zika
  • tracking malaria for mutations that might affect our ability to protect, diagnose, and treat our Service members
  • monitoring the distribution of the mosquitoes, ticks, and sandflies that transmit viruses and bacteria to humans
  • mapping and forecasting risk of these diseases 

The GEIS FVBI program supports vector and vector-borne disease surveillance projects in more than 40 countries around the world.

“We work closely with DoD laboratories and public health organizations in each of the geographic combatant command areas of responsibility,” said U.S. Public Health Service Lt. (Dr.) Brett Forshey, lead of the GEIS FVBI program. “These groups collaborate with other local partners in the region, which is key for extending our ability to conduct surveillance for these vectors and diseases.”

DoD partners within the GEIS network and their collaborators are on the ground gathering information about where mosquitoes, ticks, and sand flies are found in different parts of the world. GEIS partners then rely on extensive laboratory expertise to identify the species of mosquito, tick, or sand fly and determine which viruses, bacteria, and parasites they carry. GEIS partners also coordinate to determine how often mosquitoes resist chemicals commonly used to lower their populations.

One of our key projects is to bring all the mosquito and tick detection data together and use it to better understand the types of risks that exist for our Service members,” said Forshey. “Turning that data into actionable information for our military is a challenge, but one that needs to be addressed in order to provide the best guidance possible for those that might be exposed.”

Another issue is timeliness – transporting samples back to the lab can be time consuming and the information received may not be up-to-date. “We need to develop better processes that will allow us to quickly identify these arthropod vectors and pathogens they carry, to help make decisions to limit diseases and prevent transmission to military populations.

“We need to remember that before the current pandemic, West Nile, chikungunya, and Zika viruses emerged out of obscurity to spread rapidly to many parts of the world. There are surely many other pathogens transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks poised to do the same,” said Forshey. “We are still searching for vaccines and treatments for many of these pathogens. For others, we need to keep an eye on whether the vaccines and treatments still work.”

Pimentel agrees. “Knowing the threats and preventing exposure – including proper wear of insecticide-treated uniforms – is still the best way to keep our Service members healthy.”

You also may be interested in...

Diabetes Mellitus

Infographic
3/17/2017
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a group of chronic metabolic conditions characterized by high blood glucose levels resulting from a decreased ability to produce and or use insulin. DM-related metabolic abnormalities are associated with damage to various organs and tissues. From 2008 - 2015, a total of 9,092 incident cases of DM were reported among active duty service members. This infographic provides details on the overall incidence rates of type 1 and 2 DM cases per 100,000 person-years. It also provides information about service members at higher risk of diabetes. Here are some key findings from the study: •	Type 1 DM (previously known as “insulin-dependent diabetes”) overall incidence rate was 3.0 cases per 100,000 p-yrs. •	Type 2 DM ( “non-insulin-dependent diabetes) was 74.5 cases per 100,000 p-yrs. And rates doubled within each successive age group.  Service members at higher risk of diabetes are male, black, non-Hispanic, unknown race/ ethnicity, Hispanic and enlisted in the Army and Navy. Learn more by visiting Health.mil/AFHSB

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a group of chronic metabolic conditions characterized by high blood glucose levels resulting from a decreased ability to produce and or use insulin. DM-related metabolic abnormalities are associated with damage to various organs and tissues. From 2008 - 2015, a total of 9,092 incident cases of DM were reported among active duty service members. This infographic provides details on the overall incidence rates of type 1 and 2 DM cases per 100,000 person-years. It also provides information about service members at higher risk of diabetes.

Recommended Content:

Conditions and Treatments | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch

Leishmaniasis

Infographic
3/17/2017
Leishmaniasis is a zoonotic disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania that are transmitted to humans by the bites of infected female sand flies. The disease remains a military medical surveillance interest because of deployments to endemic areas of the Middle East. It is also endemic in many other regions including Africa, Mexico, Southern Europe, Asia, and South and Central America. This report provides an update on the frequencies, rates, and demographic characteristics of U.S. service members who were diagnosed/ reported with leishmaniasis while expanding analysis to include information on the location of acquisition of leishmaniasis infection during a 2001-2016 surveillance period. Here are key findings from the surveillance period: •	There were 2,040 incident diagnoses/ reports of leishmaniasis among members of the U.S. Armed Forces. •	Cutaneous Leishmaniasis accounted for 61.0% of total diagnoses/ reports among active duty service members. •	71.1% of the total leishmaniasis case were diagnosed or reported during the 7 months from early autumn to spring (September – March) in the northern hemisphere. •	The majority of cases diagnosed or reported during this 7-month interval were acquired in the Middle East, South/Central America and other or unknown locations.  Learn more information at Health.mil/MSMR

Leishmaniasis is a zoonotic disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania that are transmitted to humans by the bites of infected female sand flies. This report provides an update on the frequencies, rates, and demographic characteristics of U.S. service members who were diagnosed/ reported with leishmaniasis while expanding analysis to include information on the location of acquisition of leishmaniasis infection during a 2001-2016 surveillance period.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch

Global Influenza Summary: March 12, 2017

Report
3/12/2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | AFHSB Reports and Publications | Influenza Summary and Reports

Global Influenza Summary: March 5, 2017

Report
3/5/2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | AFHSB Reports and Publications | Influenza Summary and Reports

March 10 is National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Infographic
3/3/2017
This graphic shows the results of routine screening for antibodies to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) among both female civilian applicants for U.S. military service and female service members of the U.S. Armed Forces, active component - Army during  January 2015 through June 2016 surveillance period. 94,763 females out of 463,132 civilian applicants for U.S. military service were tested for antibodies to HIV. Out of 124 civilian applicants that were HIV positive, 10 were female. Throughout the period, seroprevalences were much higher among males than females.  During 2015 – 2016 seroprevalences dropped to zero among female applicants.  As for U.S. Armed Forces active component, 81,963 female service members out of 548,974 were tested for antibodies to HIV. Out of 120 soldiers that were HIV positive 3 were female. Annual seroprevalences for male active component Army members greatly exceed those of females. During the 2015, on average, one new HIV infection was detected among active duty army soldiers per 5,265 screening tests.  HIV-1 is the cause of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and has had major impacts on the health of populations and on healthcare systems worldwide. Of 515 active component soldiers diagnosed with HIV infections since 2011, a total of 291 (57%) were still in the military. Get tested and learn more by reading the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report at Health.Mil/MSMR.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) is the cause of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and has had major impacts on the health of populations and on healthcare systems worldwide. This infographic provides information on routine screening for antibodies to HIV among female civilian applicants of the U.S. Military Service and U.S. Armed Forces, January 2011 – June 2016.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment

Counts, Rates, & Trends of Incedent Diagnoses of Melanoma

Infographic
3/3/2017
Melanoma is a leading cause of cancer death. This graphic shows facts from an analysis for counts, rates, and trends of incident diagnoses of Melanoma among active component military members conducted during a 10-year surveillance period from 2005 through 2014.   Although melanoma is more common among males in the general U.S. population, in this analysis, females had a higher crude rate of malignant melanoma compared to males. From 2005 – 2014, there were 1,571 malignant melanoma cancers diagnosed in the U.S. Armed Forces. Here are other key facts from the analysis: •	Among male service members, malignant melanoma was one of the most frequent cancer diagnoses after testicular cancer. •	Among females, malignant melanoma was the 2nd most frequent cancer diagnoses after breast cancer. •	White, non-Hispanic service members had a much higher crude rate of malignant melanoma relative to their counterparts in other race/ ethnicity groups. •	In general, the strongest demographic correlate of increased risk of cancer diagnosis was older age. To learn more information, visit Health.mil/AFHSB

Melanoma is a leading cause of cancer death. This infographic provides information on an analysis for the counts, rates, and trends of incident diagnoses of melanoma among active component military members. The analysis was conducted during a 10-year surveillance period from 2005 through 2014.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch

Global Influenza Summary: February 12, 2017

Report
2/12/2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | AFHSB Reports and Publications | Influenza Summary and Reports

Global Influenza Summary: February 5, 2017

Report
2/5/2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | AFHSB Reports and Publications | Influenza Summary and Reports

Cold injuries among active duty U.S. service members drop to lowest level since winter 2011–2012

Article
1/23/2017
U.S. service members often perform duties in cold weather climates where they may be exposed to frigid conditions and possible injury.

Cold injuries among active duty U.S. service members drop to the lowest level since winter 2011-2012, according to a study published in Defense Health Agency’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch (AFHSB) peer-reviewed journal, the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Winter Safety

Global Influenza Summary: January 22, 2017

Report
1/22/2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | AFHSB Reports and Publications | Influenza Summary and Reports

Human Physiologic Responses to Cold Exposure

Infographic
1/9/2017
Human Physiologic responses to cold exposure preserve core body temperature, but those responses may not be sufficient to prevent hypothermia if heat loss is prolonged. This infographic offers helpful information on preserving core body temperature to counter the threat from cold environments. Physiologic responses include: •	Constriction of the peripheral (superficial) vascular system – may result in non-freezing injuries or hasten the onset of actual freezing of tissues (frostbite) •	Minimizing loss of body heat •	Protecting superficial tissues Protection includes:	 •	Nutrition •	Shelter •	Physical Activity •	Protective Clothing Learn more about preserving core body temperature by reading the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report at www.Health.mil/AFHSB

Human Physiologic responses to cold exposure preserve core body temperature, but those responses may not be sufficient to prevent hypothermia if heat loss is prolonged. This infographic offers helpful information on preserving core body temperature to counter the threat from cold environments.

Recommended Content:

Winter Safety | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch

Global Influenza Summary: January 1, 2017

Report
1/1/2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | AFHSB Reports and Publications | Influenza Summary and Reports

Rift Valley Fever Virus Ecology

Infographic
12/5/2016
This infographic describes Rift Valley Fever (RVF) virus ecology and how RVF infects livestock and humans.   •	First the enzootic cycle begins. It is maintained via transfer from parent mosquito to offspring. This is a local, low-level transfer of disease to livestock and happens during periods of average rainfall. •	Next, high rainfall and flooding enable Aedes mosquito breeding environments to flourish. This is followed by epizootic outbreaks, which cause abortion storms in animals, with > 90% mortality in newborns and 10-20% mortality in adults. Secondary vectors, including other mosquito genera such as Culex, can pass on the virus to humans and animals.  Spillover to humans includes exposure to blood and tissue of infected livestock and occurs during slaughter or birthing activities. Humans can also be infected with RVF via bites of infected mosquitos.

This infographic describes Rift Valley Fever (RVF) virus ecology and how RVF infects livestock and humans.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

Global Influenza Summary: November 20, 2016

Report
11/20/2016

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | AFHSB Reports and Publications | Influenza Summary and Reports

Global Influenza Summary: November 6, 2016

Report
11/6/2016

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | AFHSB Reports and Publications | Influenza Summary and Reports
<< < ... 11 12 13 14 > >> 
Showing results 166 - 180 Page 12 of 14

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.