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Military Health System

Our History

Military medicine has a long and celebrated history. We apply lessons from our past to improve the care of military personnel and their families today and in the future. New surgical techniques, powerful painkillers, antibiotic drugs, and triage and evacuation procedures have revolutionized military medicine.

In this section, you'll find featured stories and information about the history of military medicine.

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Zika Virus Surveillance in Active Duty U.S. Military and Dependents Through the Naval Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory

Article
7/1/2019
Anopheles merus mosquito. (CDC photo by James Gathany)

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Surveillance Snapshot: Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Among U.S. Active Component Service Members in the Millennium Cohort Study, 2006–2017

Article
6/1/2019
HPV virus

The U.S. Millennium Cohort Study is a population-based prospective study that includes over 200,000 current and prior U.S. military service members.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Offspring Sex Ratio of Male Active Duty U.S. Navy Submariners, 2001–2015

Article
6/1/2019
U.S. Marine Corps

The natural human sex ratio at birth (male:female) slightly favors males, and altered sex ratios might be indicative of exposure to reproductive hazards.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis in a U.S. Air Force Training Population, Joint Base San Antonio–Lackland, TX, 2018

Article
6/1/2019
Cyclosporiasis

Diarrheal illnesses have an enormous impact on military operations in the deployed and training environments. While bacteria and viruses are the usual causes of gastrointestinal disease outbreaks, 2 Joint Base San Antonio–Lackland, TX, training populations experienced an outbreak of diarrheal illness caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis in June and July 2018.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Female Infertility, Active Component Service Women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2013–2018

Article
6/1/2019
Human egg cell

As in prior years, mental health disorders, pregnancy-related conditions, and injury/poisoning accounted for the majority (59.8%) of all hospitalizations among active component service members in 2018. However, the hospitalization rate for all causes was the lowest rate in the past 10 years.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Women's Health

Norovirus Outbreak in Army Service Members, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, May 2018

Article
6/1/2019
Norovirus are a group of related, single-stranded RNA, nonenveloped viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans. (Photo Courtesy: CDC/Charles D. Humphrey

As in prior years, mental health disorders, pregnancy-related conditions, and injury/poisoning accounted for the majority (59.8%) of all hospitalizations among active component service members in 2018. However, the hospitalization rate for all causes was the lowest rate in the past 10 years.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Article
5/1/2019
A U.S. naval officer listens through his stethoscope to hear his patient’s lungs at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan in 2018. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps) photo by Lance Cpl. Cameron Parks)

In 2018, mental health disorders accounted for the largest proportions of the morbidity and healthcare burdens that affected the pediatric and younger adult beneficiary age groups. Among adults aged 45–64 years, musculoskeletal diseases accounted for the most morbidity and healthcare burdens, and among adults aged 65 years or older, cardiovascular diseases accounted for the most.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Medical evacuations out of the U.S. Central Command, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Article
5/1/2019
Airmen from the 19th Medical Group litter-carry a simulated patient onto a C-130J during an aeromedical evacuation training mission at Little Rock Air Force Base in 2019. (Photo Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

The number of medical evacuations for battle injuries has decreased considerably since 2014. Most medical evacuations in 2018 were attributed to mental health disorders, followed by non-battle injury/poisoning; signs, symptoms, and ill-defined conditions; musculoskeletal disorders; and digestive system disorders.

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Hospitalizations, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Article
5/1/2019
U.S. Navy sailors graduate from boot camp at Recruit Training Command (RTC) in 2018. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

As in prior years, mental health disorders, pregnancy-related conditions, and injury/poisoning accounted for the majority (59.8%) of all hospitalizations among active component service members in 2018. However, the hospitalization rate for all causes was the lowest rate in the past 10 years.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, non-service member beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2018

Article
5/1/2019
A senior airman of 366th Medical Support Squadron pediatric clinic checks vitals of the child of its service member at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

In 2018, mental health disorders accounted for the largest proportions of the morbidity and healthcare burdens that affected the pediatric and younger adult beneficiary age groups. Among adults aged 45–64 years, musculoskeletal diseases accounted for the most morbidity and health care burdens, and among adults aged 65 years or older, cardiovascular diseases accounted for the most.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Surveillance Snapshot: Illness and Injury Burdens, Reserve Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Article
5/1/2019
U.S. Navy sailors graduate from boot camp at Recruit Training Command (RTC) in 2018. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

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Surveillance Snapshot: Illness and Injury Burdens, Recruit Trainees, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Article
5/1/2019
U.S. Navy sailors graduate from boot camp at Recruit Training Command (RTC) in 2018. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

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Morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, deployed active and reserve component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Article
5/1/2019
A U.S. naval officer listens through his stethoscope to hear his patient’s lungs at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan in 2018. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps) photo by Lance Cpl. Cameron Parks)

Among service members deployed during 2018, injury/poisoning, musculoskeletal diseases, and signs/symptoms accounted for more than half of the total health care burden while deployed. Compared to the distribution of major burden of disease categories documented in garrison, a relatively greater proportion of in-theater medical encounters due to respiratory infections, skin diseases, infectious/parasitic diseases, and digestive diseases was documented.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Ambulatory visits, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Article
5/1/2019
A U.S. naval officer listens through his stethoscope to hear his patient’s lungs at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan in 2018. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps) photo by Lance Cpl. Cameron Parks)

Musculoskeletal disorders and mental health disorders accounted for more than half (52.6%) of all illness- and injury-related ambulatory encounters among active component service members in 2018. Since 2014, the number of ambulatory visits for mental health disorders has decreased, while the numbers of ambulatory visits for musculoskeletal system/connective tissue disorders, nervous system and sense organ disorders, and respiratory system disorders have increased.

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Modeling Lyme Disease Host Animal Habitat Suitability, West Point, New York

Article
4/1/2019
A deer basks in the morning sun at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.  (Photo Courtesy: U.S. Air Force)

As the most frequently reported vector-borne disease among active component U.S. service members, with an incidence rate of 16 cases per 100,000 person-years in 2011, Lyme disease poses both a challenge to health care providers in the Military Health System and a threat to military readiness. Spread through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, infection with the bacterial cause of Lyme disease can have lasting effects that may lead to medical discharge from the military. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is situated in a highly endemic area in New York State. To identify probable areas where West Point cadets as well as active duty service members stationed at West Point and their families might contract Lyme disease, this study used Geographic Information System mapping methods and remote sensing data to replicate an established spatial model to identify the likely habitat of a key host animal—the white-tailed deer.

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Last Updated: September 21, 2022
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