Back to Top Skip to main content

DoD Leverages GEIS Respiratory Surveillance to Respond to COVID-19

Three men in a pig pen taking samples Staff from the U.S. Navy Medical Research Unit 6, better known as NAMRU-6, perform sampling on swine and swine workers in Peru. This testing helps monitor the transmission of potential respiratory pathogens.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Coronavirus

As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and spread around the world, the Department of Defense funded health surveillance activities to rapidly support military forces living and working in the U.S. and abroad. Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch’s Global Emerging Infection Surveillance (GEIS) program manages a global laboratory network and uses analytical processes to detect emergent diseases and track respiratory illnesses such as influenza.

This GEIS-supported respiratory network, comprised of partnerships with Army, Navy, and Air Force public health and medical research laboratories, includes hundreds of surveillance sites in over 30 countries.

These surveillance locations are selected based on inputs from the regional laboratories and in coordination with the Geographic Combatant Commands. GEIS also funds and maintains surveillance of DoD Service members through the DoD Global Respiratory Pathogen Surveillance Program, which tests samples from over 100 sentinel site locations and is operated by the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine. In addition, GEIS supports recruit and ship-board surveillance activities operated by Naval Health Research Center. Respiratory pathogens, bacteria and viruses that can cause diseases, present a unique challenge for recruit and ship-board populations due to their close living conditions and activities that can enable the rapid spread of infections and significantly impact force readiness.

“GEIS-funded surveillance provides the foundation for rapid testing so that a better understanding of the incidence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus can be established,” said U.S. Public Health Service Cmdr. (Dr.) Mark Scheckelhoff, lead for the GEIS Respiratory Infections portfolio. “Through the long-term investments to build and maintain this network of laboratory locations, we have an extensive analytical capability. GEIS has enabled our partners to respond to the ongoing pandemic and detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 around the world.”

Through GEIS support, laboratory partners conduct many investigations including the sampling of animal markets and farm locations in four countries. These efforts include sampling of avian and swine species, as well as the workers at a particular location. Samples are then analyzed for novel influenza or other emerging pathogens with pandemic potential. 

Each laboratory within the network is able to perform highly sensitive and specific testing on respiratory samples and together process approximately 30,000 samples per year. These samples are collected in various clinics and military medical treatment facilities from individuals presenting with influenza-like-illness (ILI) symptoms.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of samples analyzed for the 2019-2020 season remains to be determined, but over 45,000 analytical tests on ILI samples have already been performed,” stated Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kevin Taylor, GEIS focus area chief.

GEIS coordinates closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other partners to ensure the data is shared. They also present annual influenza data from DoD populations to the Food and Drug Administration, to help determine the composition of the seasonal influenza vaccine for the United States.

“GEIS coordinates information sharing activities related to the development of countermeasures, vaccines, and other interventions to support the ongoing pandemic and place the network in a good position to address future threats,” said Navy Capt. Guillermo Pimentel.

You also may be interested in...

Trump Administration Releases COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy

Article
9/17/2020
Soldier getting flu shot

Detailed planning is ongoing to ensure rapid distribution as soon as the FDA authorizes or approves a COVID-19 vaccine and CDC makes recommendations for who should receive initial doses.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS immunization experts will answer questions about flu vaccine

Article
9/16/2020
Soldier giving another soldier a flu shot

Real-time Facebook event set for 3-4 p.m. EDT Sept. 17

Recommended Content:

Immunizations | Preventive Health | Public Health | Coronavirus

Former BAMC COVID-19 patient now CCP donor

Article
9/16/2020
Man donating blood

When someone contracts a virus, that person’s immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

New communications tool rolled out on MHS GENESIS

Article
9/15/2020
Three men, wearing masks, looking at a computer screen.

Through e-Visits, providers address questions, concerns virtually.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Suicide impacts us all – but there is help!

Article
9/14/2020
Man at sporting event kissing his wife and baby

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Coronavirus | September Toolkit

Wildfire smoke wreaks havoc on respiratory and immune systems

Article
9/11/2020
Picture of a military tent; an orange, smoky hue surrounds the tent and soldiers

State and country health advisory alerts on diminished air quality have been posted and shared to alert local populations.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

Thirteen years ago Ft. Knox prepared for outbreak scenarios

Article
9/10/2020
Front page of newspaper

Some of the preventive measures that surfaced from the 2007 exercise included the wearing of facial coverings, regular sanitizing of surfaces and social distancing by such means as teleworking.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

From Ghana to Washington, Sailor provides leadership during COVID-19

Article
9/10/2020
Female soldier with mask

Acquiring supplies, in general, has been a hurdle worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

JHIEs give providers better access to patient information

Article
9/8/2020
Man looking at X-Ray

The joint HIE securely connects DoD, VA, U.S. Coast Guard and hundreds of other select federal and private sector partners with patient health and benefit information data.

Recommended Content:

Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) Program Office | Electronic Health Record Modernization & Interoperability | MHS GENESIS | Joint Health Information Exchange | Coronavirus

USU & JTS lead global COVID-19 Grand Rounds

Article
9/4/2020
Woman in hospital bed surrounded by military health personnel.

A Military Health System-wide virtual clinical case conference led by the Uniformed Services University (USU) and hosted by the Joint Trauma System (JTS) offers physicans best practices and lessons learned during the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DHA Director visits Naval Hospital Pensacola

Article
9/4/2020
Lt. Gen. Ronald Place saluting to soldiers

During his visit, Place showed his appreciation to those that have been committed to excellence.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Video
9/4/2020
The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Labor Day pays tribute to the American workforce. This year, we pay tribute to the Military Health System Workforce.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Washington state’s COVID director visits Army Medical Center

Article
9/3/2020
Admiral Bono wearing a mask speaking to a soldier

Bono took note of Madigan’s flexibility in its COVID response.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DoD closing in on COVID-19 convalescent plasma collection goal

Article
9/2/2020
Technician wearing a mask, looking at different blood products

How to help DoD beneficiaries fighting COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

USAF doctor strives to advance women leaders in military medicine

Article
9/1/2020
Photo of Dr. Yun

While the military has come a long way regarding females in the higher ranks, Yun sees more progress to come.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Women's Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 26

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.