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Military Health System

Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella Among Service Members and Other Beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 1 January 2016–30 June 2019

Image of U.S. Air Force Airmen of the 163d Attack Wing line up to  receive a flu vaccine at March Air Reserve Base, California, Nov. 4, 2018. The flu vaccine is an annual requirement for military members to help curb the spread of the flu and limit its impact within the unit. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter). U.S. Air Force Airmen of the 163d Attack Wing line up to receive a flu vaccine at March Air Reserve Base, California, Nov. 4, 2018. The flu vaccine is an annual requirement for military members to help curb the spread of the flu and limit its impact within the unit. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter)

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Abstract

Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMR/V) are highly communicable infectious diseases whose causative agents are spread through contact with contaminated surfaces or airborne droplets. Individuals at highest risk for MMR/V infections include infants; unvaccinated or inadequately vaccinated persons; individuals living in communities with low vaccination rates or in crowded, unsanitary conditions; and persons with compromised immune systems. Between 1 January 2016 and 30 June 2019, there were 5 confirmed measles cases and 64 confirmed mumps cases among all Military Health System (MHS) beneficiaries. During this period, no cases of measles were reported among U.S. service members. There were 29 confirmed mumps cases among service members during the surveillance period; 2 cases occurred in 2016, 17 in 2017, 5 in 2018, and 5 in the first 6 months of 2019. There were 6 confirmed rubella cases among all MHS beneficiaries. Among service members, there were 39 confirmed cases of varicella during the surveillance period; 9 cases occurred in 2016, 11 in 2017, 11 in 2018, and 8 in the first 6 months of 2019. Recent trends in MMR/V in both military and civilian populations in the U.S. highlight the importance of primary and booster vaccinations.

What are the findings?

In the 3.5-year period, the confirmed cases of varicella, mumps, rubella, and measles among service members numbered 39, 29, 1, and 0, respectively. Among non-service member beneficiaries, the counts of cases were similar, numbering 69, 35, 5, and 5, respectively. These low case counts confirm the effectiveness of the respective vaccine components among the large MHS beneficiary population.

What is the impact on readiness and force health protection?

The methodical use of the MMRV vaccine among new service members eliminates the associated morbidity for the protected individuals and the potential for outbreaks of these diseases, which can impair the readiness of military units. A similar beneficial impact among non-service member beneficiaries reduces the healthcare burden on the medical infrastructure that supports force readiness.

Background

Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMR/V) were common in the U.S. before the introduction of licensed vaccines. Measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, mumps vaccine in 1967, rubella vaccine in 1969, and varicella vaccine in 1995.1 Since then, these vaccines have been important components of routine pediatric preventive care. Individuals at highest risk for MMR/V infections include infants (because they are too young to be vaccinated); unvaccinated or inadequately vaccinated persons; individuals living in communities with low vaccination rates or in crowded, unsanitary conditions; and persons with compromised immune systems.2 Although the numbers of cases of MMR/V declined dramatically in the U.S. after vaccine implementation, outbreaks of these diseases occur sporadically. Between 1 January 2019 and 1 October 2019, a total of 1,249 measles cases and 22 measles outbreaks were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 31 states.3 The number of measles cases reported during this period represents the greatest number of cases reported in a calendar year in the U.S. since 1992; the majority of these cases occurred among individuals who were unvaccinated.3 Overall, approximately 10% of those who contracted measles during this period were hospitalized.3 Eighty-one of the measles cases reported so far in 2019 were imported from other countries.3 In 2016, 2017, and 2018, totals of 86, 120, and 372 cases of measles were reported in the U.S., respectively.4

Mumps outbreaks continue to occur in the U.S., even among vaccinated individuals and in areas with high vaccination rates.5 Two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine (which contains the live attenuated Jeryl Lynn mumps vaccine strain) are 88% effective at protecting against mumps.6 When mumps infection does occur among vaccinated individuals, the illness is usually less severe; moreover, mumps outbreaks tend to be of limited size and duration in communities with high vaccination rates.7,8 In the U.S., there has been an ongoing resurgence in mumps cases that began with a series of outbreaks on university campuses in 2006.9 More recently, between 1 January 2016 and 30 June 2017, U.S. health departments reported 150 outbreaks (9,200 cases) associated with schools, universities, athletics teams and facilities, households, church groups, workplaces, and large parties and events.8 In 2018, a total of 2,251 mumps cases were reported to CDC.4 Between 1 January and 13 September 2019, a total of 2,363 cases were reported from 47 states and the District of Columbia.8

Rubella is the leading vaccine-preventable cause of birth defects worldwide; infection in pregnant women may lead to fetal death or congenital defects.10 In the U.S., rubella and the associated congenital rubella syndrome were documented as eliminated in 2004.10 Elimination in this context means that the disease is no longer spread year-round in the U.S. or the Americas region.10 Although rubella has been eliminated in the U.S., it remains endemic in many other parts of the world. During 2016–2017, fewer than 10 people in the U.S. were reported as rubella cases.11 All people who were reported as cases of rubella infection since 2012 had evidence that they acquired the infection when they were living or traveling outside the U.S.12

Data on the number of chickenpox (varicella) outbreaks that occur each year in the U.S. are unavailable. Although chickenpox outbreaks are not notifiable at the national level, states are encouraged to report them to CDC annually.13,14 States are also encouraged to conduct ongoing varicella surveillance to monitor vaccine impact on morbidity. Forty states were carrying out case-based varicella surveillance as of 2017.14 Passive surveillance data collected between 1 August 2015 and 7 January 2017 indicate that 49 jurisdictions reported 89 outbreaks of varicella (1,030 cases), the majority of which occurred in schools and day care settings (57%).13 Available passive surveillance data suggest that varicella outbreaks during 2005–2012 decreased in size (number of varicella cases per outbreak) and duration15; however, no U.S. reports on varicella outbreak trends are available for more recent time periods.

In the U.S., school vaccination requirements have been shown to be a very effective strategy for achieving and maintaining high varicella vaccination coverage among school-aged children.16 The single-dose varicella vaccination program begun in 1996 was associated with significant decreases in disease burden from varicella.17 However, outbreaks of varicella remained a problem even among school populations with high single-dose coverage.18 In 2007, a universal 2-dose varicella childhood vaccine schedule with a catch-up vaccination for susceptible (i.e., only 1 dose of varicella vaccine) children, adolescents, and adults was recommended to improve protection and further decrease varicella cases and outbreaks.18 Since these more recent recommendations were implemented, additional declines in varicella-related outpatient visits and hospitalizations have been documented.19

Because of the public health and military operational consequences of MMR/V infections, evidence of immunity to these viruses is required for service members. Certain military environments such as barracks and ships are conducive to person-to-person spread of diseases such as MMR/V. Furthermore, many service members are sent to overseas locations where the likelihood of exposure to these viruses is elevated. For example, from late December 2018 through early April 2019, 28 U.S. Navy and Marine Corps members aboard the USS Fort McHenry were diagnosed with viral parotitis, which the Navy later described as probable cases of mumps.20 More recently, in late July 2019, several Army paratroopers showed symptoms of mumps while in Italy. One of these soldiers later tested positive for mumps while on temporary duty in Germany.21 The infected soldier was up to date on all of his vaccinations, including MMR.22 In response to this occurrence, Army medical staff administered the MMR vaccine to about 200 soldiers based in Italy.21,22

In October 2017, the MSMR reported on MMR/V diagnoses among service members and other Military Health System (MHS) beneficiaries.23 The current analysis provides updated summaries of the numbers, trends, and demographics of diagnoses of these diseases among these MHS populations.

Methods

The surveillance period was 1 January 2016 through 30 June 2019. The surveillance population included all individuals who were MHS beneficiaries (i.e., active and reserve/guard component service members, retired service members, family members and other dependents of service members and retirees, and other authorized government employees and family members) who accessed care through either a military medical facility/provider or a civilian facility/provider (if paid for by the MHS). It is Department of Defense (DOD) policy that cases of MMR/V (as well as many other diseases of public health importance) be reported electronically through military health channels for surveillance purposes.24 Conditions covered by this policy are referred to as reportable medical events (RMEs). All data used to ascertain cases for this analysis were derived from the electronic records of the Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS).

For this analysis, a “confirmed” case was defined as an individual identified through an RME of MMR/V that was described as confirmed by meeting specified laboratory or epidemiologic criteria.25–28 Because reporting policy for RMEs of varicella was limited to active duty service members before 2017, results pertaining to confirmed varicella cases in 2016 were limited to those reported among members of the active and reserve components.24

A “possible” case was defined as 1) an RME of MMR/V without laboratory or epidemiologic confirmation or 2) a record of an inpatient or outpatient medical encounter with a diagnosis of measles (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision [ICD-10]: B05.0, B05.1, B05.2, B05.4, B05.8, B05.89, B05.9), mumps (ICD-10: B26*), rubella (ICD-10: B06*), or varicella (ICD-10: B01.0, B01.11, B01.12, B01.2, B01.81, B01.89, B01.9) in the primary diagnostic position (Tables 1–4). “Possible” MMR cases were also required to have an associated symptom code listed in another diagnostic position (Tables 1–3). Encounters were excluded if there was either 1) a record of MMR/V vaccine administration or a positive test for serologic immunity to MMR/V within 7 days before or after the encounter date or 2) an ICD-10 diagnosis or a Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code indicating MMR/V vaccination recorded for the same encounter as the diagnosis of MMR/V (Tables 1–4).

Results

Confirmed cases

Measles: During the 3.5-year surveillance period, there were a total of 5 confirmed cases of measles among all MHS beneficiaries (Table 5, Figure 1). There were no confirmed cases of measles among service members; all 5 cases were among non-service member beneficiaries and 3 of those cases affected women (Table 5). Confirmed cases of measles were reported in 2018 (n=3) and during the first 6 months of 2019 (n=2) (Figure 1). Both of the cases in the first 6 months of 2019 were diagnosed in Texas (data not shown). Of the 5 confirmed measles cases reported during the surveillance period, 2 (40.0%) were among children 10 years old or younger (Figure 2); of these 2 children, 1 was 1 year old and 1 was 7 years old (data not shown). The remaining 3 cases were 37 years of age or older (Figure 2)

Mumps: There were 64 confirmed cases of mumps among all MHS beneficiaries during the surveillance period (Table 5, Figure 3). Slightly more than two-thirds (67.2%) of the confirmed mumps cases were among men. Twenty-two cases (34.4%) were among active component service members and 7 cases were among reserve component service members. Of the 29 confirmed mumps cases in service members, 16 cases were among Army members, 7 among Navy, 3 among Air Force, and 3 among Marine Corps members (Table 5). The remaining 35 confirmed mumps cases were among non-service member beneficiaries. During the surveillance period, the greatest number of confirmed cases was reported in 2017 (n=27) (Figure 3). There were 2 confirmed cases of mumps among service members in 2016, 17 in 2017, 5 in 2018, and 5 in the first 6 months of 2019 (data not shown). Overall, the single month with the highest number of confirmed mumps cases was April 2017 (n=7) (Figure 3). The 3 locations with the most confirmed mumps cases were Hawaii (n=13), Texas (n=12), and Alaska (n=6) (data not shown). The age group with the most confirmed cases was young adults 21–25 years old (n=15; 23.4%) (Figure 4).

Rubella: During the surveillance period, there were 6 confirmed rubella cases among all MHS beneficiaries (Table 5, Figure 5). Two-thirds (66.7%) of confirmed rubella cases were among women. There was 1 confirmed case of rubella in an active component Air Force member diagnosed in October 2018 in Nebraska (data not shown). The remaining 5 confirmed rubella cases were among non-service member beneficiaries (Table 5). All 6 of the confirmed rubella cases were among adults 20–40 years old (Figure 6). Whereas 4 confirmed rubella cases were reported in 2018, only single confirmed cases of rubella were reported in 2016 and 2017 (Figure 5). No confirmed rubella cases were reported in the first 6 months of 2019.

Varicella: There were 108 confirmed cases of varicella during the surveillance period (Table 5, Figure 7). Nearly three-fifths (58.3%) of confirmed varicella cases were among men. Thirty-nine (36.1%) of the confirmed cases of varicella were among service members. Of these 39 cases, 14 were among Army members, 11 among Navy members, 8 among Air Force, and 6 among Marine Corps members (Table 5). The vast majority (94.9%) of service members with confirmed varicella infections were active component members. There were 9 confirmed cases of varicella among service members in 2016, 11 in 2017, 11 in 2018, and 8 in the first 6 months of 2019 (data not shown). The time periods with the most confirmed varicella cases were 2018 (n=39) and the first 6 months of 2019 (n=37) (Figure 7). Overall, the months with the greatest number of confirmed varicella cases were August 2018 (n=9) and April, May, and June 2019 (n=8, n=8, n=8, respectively) (Figure 7). The 3 locations with the most confirmed cases of varicella were Texas (n=22), Florida (n=13), and Virginia (n=10) (data not shown). The age groups with the most confirmed cases were infants less than 1 year old (n=15; 13.9%) and adults 31–35 years old (n=13; 12.0%) (Figure 8).

Possible cases

Measles: During the 3.5-year surveillance period, there were 25 possible cases of measles among all MHS beneficiaries (Table 5). None of the possible cases were among active or reserve component service members; all 25 of the possible cases were among non-service member beneficiaries. The number of possible measles cases reported in the first 6 months of 2019 (n=11) was more than 3 times the number reported in 2016 (n=3). The greatest number of possible measles cases was among children 5 years old or younger (n=18; 72.0%) (data not shown). Mumps: Overall, there were 147 possible cases of mumps among all MHS beneficiaries during the surveillance period (Table 5). Of these, 28 possible cases were among active component service members and 6 were among reserve component service members. The remaining 113 possible cases were among non-service member beneficiaries. The age groups with the greatest numbers of possible mumps cases were children aged 1–5 years old (n=23; 15.6%) and children aged 6–10 years old (n=22; 15.0%) (data not shown).

Rubella: During the surveillance period, there were 12 possible cases of rubella among all MHS beneficiaries (Table 5). All 12 possible cases of rubella were among non-service member beneficiaries. The greatest number of possible rubella cases was among children aged 1–5 years old (n=6; 50.0%) (data not shown).

Varicella: There were 4,301 possible cases of varicella during the surveillance period among all MHS beneficiaries (Table 5). Of these, 205 (4.8%) possible cases were among active component service members and 88 (2.0%) were among reserve component service members. The remaining 4,008 possible varicella cases were among non-service member beneficiaries. The age groups with the greatest numbers of possible cases of varicella were children aged 1–5 years old (n=1,338; 31.1%) and children 6–10 years old (n=579; 13.5%) (data not shown).

Editorial Comment

Current DOD policy is to screen the immunization records of accessions during initial entry training and immunize if the primary series against MMR/V is incomplete.29 Although DOD policy calls for serologic testing for antibodies to measles, rubella, and varicella (as well as hepatitis A and hepatitis B), current practice at military accession sites also includes mumps serology in accordance with CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations.29,32

Between 1 January 2016 and 30 June 2019, no cases (confirmed or possible) of measles were reported among service members. All of the measles cases identified in this analysis were among non-service member beneficiaries. Children 10 years old or younger accounted for two-fifths of all confirmed measles cases during the surveillance period. This finding and those of published reports of recent outbreaks suggest that some children who have not received 2 doses of MMR or MMRV vaccine are susceptible to infection when exposed to the measles virus.30,31

During the 3.5-year surveillance period, there were more than 12 times as many confirmed cases of mumps (n=64) as there were of measles (n=5). This finding is not unexpected given that the efficacy of the mumps vaccine (88% [range: 66%–95%] with 2 doses; 78% [range: 49%–92%] with 1 dose) is lower than that of the measles component of the vaccine.32–34 It is also consistent with multiple studies showing that waning immunity may contribute to mumps outbreaks in settings where persons have close, prolonged contact.35,36 In the current analysis, the greatest number of confirmed cases of mumps occurred among 21- to 25-year-olds. Results of a recent synthesis of data from 6 mumps vaccine effectiveness studies suggest that vaccine-derived immune protection against mumps wanes on average 27 years (95% confidence interval: 16–51 years) after vaccination.5 This highlights the fact that increased outbreaks due to mumps are not fully explained and may be related to a combination of factors including waning immunity, vaccine escape mutations, and genetic differences in vaccine responsiveness.37,38

In the current analysis, Texas was the location associated with the greatest number of confirmed measles cases and the location associated with the second highest number of mumps cases among MHS beneficiaries. It is unknown whether these cases were associated with outbreaks within military or civilian communities.

The low number of confirmed rubella cases reported during the surveillance period is expected given the efficacy of the rubella component of the MMR vaccine and the low number of cases reported in the general U.S. population during this time.4

Across the services, the varicella vaccine is administered to susceptible trainees and other accessions within the first 2 weeks of initial entry training.29 Serologic screening is one means of determining susceptibility to varicella infection.18 Those individuals without a personal history of chickenpox, documentation of 2 prior varicella vaccinations, or documentation of immunity based on serologic testing are considered susceptible.29 Susceptible adults require 2 doses of varicella vaccine given 4–8 weeks apart.29 In 2017, the reporting policy for RMEs for varicella was changed to include all beneficiaries and is no longer restricted to only active and reserve component service members.24 The observed pattern of an increase in the numbers of confirmed varicella cases in 2017, 2018, and the first 6 months of 2019 relative to 2016 is likely due, at least in part, to this change in reporting policy.

As expected, this analysis identified many more possible cases of MMR/V than confirmed cases. One example of the challenges to complete ascertainment and counting of cases is provided by the recent, aforementioned outbreak of parotitis aboard the USS Fort McHenry in 2018. Although the final count of shipboard cases considered likely to be mumps was 28, only 23 cases (confirmed or possible) of mumps were reported for the entire DOD in this period. In the MHS, diagnoses of MMR/V require RME notifications. The published guidelines emphasize that the proper identification, treatment, control, and follow-up of cases requires prompt, accurate reporting of probable, suspected, or confirmed cases of these infections.24 In addition, the guidelines discourage delaying the submission of RME reports while awaiting laboratory confirmation and call for the submission of additional reports once the diagnosis has been confirmed.24 In the context of these guidelines, the current analysis searched the database of RMEs for cases that were identified as “confirmed.” RMEs that characterized the diagnoses as either “probable” or “suspected” and were never amended as “confirmed” were treated as “possible” cases. Such cases were grouped with cases identified from records of inpatient and outpatient records. Consequently, “possible” cases may include both “true” cases for which there were no follow-up RMEs indicating confirmation and “true” cases for which diagnoses were documented in inpatient or outpatient records but no RMEs were ever submitted by local military public health officials. Because “possible” cases based upon diagnoses in the primary diagnostic position for inpatient or outpatient encounters required an additional diagnostic code for an associated symptom, some cases of true MMR/V infections are likely not captured as “possible” cases because documentation of a specific diagnosis was not accompanied by documentation of a symptom. This aspect of the case definition could lead to underestimation of total counts of “possible” cases. Civilian healthcare providers who diagnose and confirm cases of any of these 4 viral infections outside of the MHS would not be expected to submit RME reports; however, the diagnoses are captured in the DMSS if such care is underwritten by the MHS. Moreover, for 2017, 2018, and 2019, medical data from sites that were using MHS GENESIS, the new electronic health record for the MHS, are not available in the DMSS. These sites include Naval Hospital Oak Harbor, Naval Hospital Bremerton, Air Force Medical Services Fairchild, and Madigan Army Medical Center. Therefore, medical encounter data for individuals seeking care at any of these facilities during 2017–2019 were not included in the analysis. The scenarios and situations described above may result in the underestimation of the actual incidence of cases of MMR/V among MHS beneficiaries.

Conversely, other circumstances may tend to result in overestimation of the number of incident cases. For example, diagnoses of MMR/V recorded in electronic health records may represent misdiagnoses, tentative (rule-out) diagnoses that are not confirmed, and/or miscoding of medical encounters for vaccinations or laboratory testing. Because of this inherent uncertainty, counts of confirmed cases were the main focus of this report.

Recent trends in MMR/V in both military and civilian populations in the U.S. highlight the importance of primary and booster vaccinations. Current recommendations for the MMR vaccine include 2 doses—the first between 12 and 15 months and the second between 4 and 6 years old.39 Adults with only 1 dose or who lack laboratory evidence for MMR immunity are encouraged to receive the vaccine, particularly those who work in healthcare settings.39 Current recommendations for varicella vaccination correspond to the MMR vaccination schedule (2 doses—the first between ages 12 and 15 months and the second between ages 4 and 6 years), with a catch-up vaccination for susceptible children, adolescents, and adults.39 Because they are required to have evidence of immunity for MMR/V, it is not surprising that service members account for a relatively small proportion of all cases of these diseases in the MHS.

References

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2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Atkinson W, Wolfe C, Hamborsky J. eds. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 12th ed. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation; 2011.

3. Patel M, Lee AD, Clemmons NS, et al. National update on measles cases and outbreaks—United States, January 1–October 1, 2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 68(40):893–896.

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS). Notifiable infectious disease and conditions data tables. https://wwwn.cdc.gov/nndss/infectious-tables.html. Accessed 5 September 2019.

5. Lewnard JA, Grad YH. Vaccine waning and mumps re-emergence in the United States. Sci Transl Med. 2018;10(433). pii:eaao5945.

6. Harling R, White JM, Ramsay ME, Macsween KF, van den Bosch C. The effectiveness of the mumps component of the MMR vaccine: a case control study. Vaccine. 2005;23(31):4070–4074.

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8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mumps cases and outbreaks. https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks.html. Accessed 21 October 2019.

9. Dayan GH, Quinlisk MP, Parker AA, et al. Recent resurgence of mumps in the United States. N Engl J Med. 2008;358(15):1580–1589.

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11. World Health Organization. WHO vaccine preventable diseases: monitoring system. 2019 global summary. Incidence time series for United States of America (the) (USA). http://apps.who.int/immunization_monitoring/globalsummary/incidences?c=USA. Accessed 6 September 2019.

12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rubella (German measles, three-day measles). https://www.cdc.gov/rubella/index.html. Accessed 6 September 2019.

13. Lopez AS, Leung J, Marin M. Varicella outbreak surveillance in the United States, 2015–2016. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2017;4(suppl 1):s461.

14. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chickenpox (varicella). Varicella reporting and surveillance. https://www.cdc.gov/chickenpox/health-departments/conducting-surveillance.html. Accessed 9 September 2019.

15. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chickenpox (varicella). Monitoring the impact of varicella vaccination. https://www.cdc.gov/chickenpox/surveillance/monitoring-varicella.html. Accessed 9 September 2019.

16. Lopez AS, Kolasa MS, Seward JF. Status of school entry requirements for varicella vaccination and vaccination coverage 11 years after implementation of the varicella vaccination program. J Infect Dis. 2008;197(suppl 2):s76–s281.

17. Lopez AS, Zhang J, Brown C, Bialek S. Varicella-related hospitalizations in the United States, 2000–2006: the 1-dose varicella vaccination era. Pediatrics. 2011;127(2):238–245.

18. Marin M, Guris D, Chaves SS, et al. Prevention of varicella: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep. 2007;56(RR-4):1–40.

19. Leung J, Harpaz R. Impact of the maturing varicella vaccination program on varicella and related outcomes in the United States: 1994–2012. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2016;5(4):395–402.

20. Pickrell R. The crew of this Navy warship has gone without a port of call thanks to a viral mumps outbreak. Task & Purpose. 2 May 2019. https://taskandpurpose.com/uss-fort-mchenry-mumpsoutbreak. Accessed 6 September 2019.

21. Montgomery N. Hundreds receive vaccinations after soldiers show signs of mumps in Italy. Stars and Stripes. 13 August 2019. https://www.stripes.com/news/hundreds-receive-vaccinations-aftersoldiers-show-signs-of-mumps-in-italy-1.594165. Accessed 11 September 2019.

22. Egnash M. Army stresses vaccinations after soldier treated for mumps in Germany. Stars and Stripes. 10 August 2019. https://www.stripes.com/news/europe/army-stresses-vaccinations-aftersoldier-treated-for-mumps-in-germany-1.593891. Accessed 9 September 2019.

23. Williams VF, Stahlman S, Fan M. Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella among service members and other beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2010–2016. MSMR. 2017;24(10):2–11.

24. Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. Armed Forces Reportable Medical Events. Guidelines and Case Definitions, 2017. https://health.mil/Reference-Center/Publications/2017/07/17/Armed-Forces-Reportable-Medical-Events-Guidelines.

25. Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. Surveillance Case Definitions: Measles. https://health.mil/Reference-Center/Publications/2015/09/01/Measles. Accessed 29 August 2019.

26. Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. Surveillance Case Definitions: Mumps. https://health.mil/Reference-Center/Publications/2015/05/01/Mumps. Accessed 29 August 2019.

27. Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. Surveillance Case Definitions: Rubella. https://health.mil/Reference-Center/Publications/2018/01/01/Rubella. Accessed 29 August 2019.

28. Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. Surveillance Case Definitions: Varicella. https://health.mil/Reference-Center/Publications/2018/01/01/Varicella. Accessed 29 August 2019.

29. Headquarters, Departments of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard. Army Regulation 40-563, BUMEDINST 6230.15B, AFI 48–110_IP, CG COMDTINST M6230.4G. Medical Services: Immunizations and Chemoprophylaxis for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases. 7 November 2013.

30. Hall V, Banerjee E, Kenyon C, et al. Measles Outbreak–Minnesota April–May 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66(27):713–717.

31. Patel M, Lee AD, Redd SB, et al. Increase in Measles Cases–United States, January 1–April 26, 2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019;68(17):402–404.

32. McLean HQ, Fiebelkorn AP, Temte JL, Wallace GS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention of measles, rubella, congenital rubella syndrome, and mumps, 2013: summary recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep. 2013;62(RR-04):1–34.

33. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mumps vaccination. https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/vaccination.html. Accessed 29 August 2019.

34. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Measles Vaccination. https://www.cdc.gov/measles/vaccination.html. Accessed 29 August 2019.

35. Hamami D, Cameron R, Pollock KG, Shankland C. Waning immunity is associated with periodic large outbreaks of mumps: a mathematical modeling study of Scottish data. Front Physiol. 2017;8:233.

36. Marshall HS, Plotkin S. The changing epidemiology of mumps in a high vaccination era. Lancet Infect Dis. 2019;19(2):188–119.

37. Zengel J, Phan SI, Pickar A, Xu P, He B. Immunogenicity of mumps virus vaccine candidates matching circulating genotypes in the United States and China. Vaccine. 2017;35:3988–3994.

38. Scepanovic P, Alanio C, Hammer C, et al. Human genetic variants and age are the strongest predictors of humoral immune responses to common pathogens and vaccines. Genome Med. 2018;10(59):1–13.

39. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine information statements (VISs). https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/current-vis.html. Accessed 28 August 2019.

Confirmed and possible cases of measles among MHS beneficiaries, by year and month, 1 January 2016–30 June 2019

Age distribution of confirmed cases of measles among all MHS beneficiaries, 1 January 2016–30 June 2019

Confirmed and possible cases of mumps among MHS beneficiaries, by year and month, 1 January 2016–30 June 2019

Age distribution of confirmed cases of mumps among all MHS beneficiaries, 1 January 2016–30 June 2019

Confirmed and possible cases of rubella among MHS beneficiaries, by year and month, 1 January 2016–30 June 2019

Age distribution of confirmed cases of rubella among all MHS beneficiaries, 1 January 2016–30 June 2019

Confirmed and possible cases of varicella among MHS beneficiaries, by year and month, 1 January 2016–30 June 2019

Age distribution of confirmed cases of varicella among all MHS beneficiaries,a 1 January 2016–30 June 2019

ICD-10 diagnostic and symptom codes used for classification as a "possible" measles case

ICD-10 diagnostic and symptom codes used for classification as a "possible" mumps case

ICD-10 diagnostic and symptom codes used for classification as a "possible" rubella case

ICD-10 diagnostic and symptom codes used for classification as a "possible" varicella case

Confirmed and possible cases of measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella among MHS beneficiaries, 1 January 2016–30 June 2019

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3/1/2019
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This report summarizes incidence rates of the 5 most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among active component service members of the U.S. Armed Forces during 2010–2018. Infections with chlamydia were the most common, followed in decreasing order of frequency by infections with genital human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea, genital herpes simplex virus (HSV), and syphilis. Compared to men, women had higher rates of all STIs except for syphilis. In general, compared to their respective counterparts, younger service members, non-Hispanic blacks, soldiers, and enlisted members had higher incidence rates of STIs. During the latter half of the surveillance period, the incidence of chlamydia and gonorrhea increased among both male and female service members. Rates of syphilis increased for male service members but remained relatively stable among female service members. In contrast, the incidence of genital HPV and HSV decreased among both male and female service members. Similarities to and differences from the findings of the last MSMR update on STIs are discussed.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Vasectomy and Vasectomy Reversals, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000–2017

Article
3/1/2019
Sperm is the male reproductive cell  Photo: iStock

During 2000–2017, a total of 170,878 active component service members underwent a first-occurring vasectomy, for a crude overall incidence rate of 8.6 cases per 1,000 person-years (p-yrs). Among the men who underwent incident vasectomy, 2.2% had another vasectomy performed during the surveillance period. Compared to their respective counterparts, the overall rates of vasectomy were highest among service men aged 30–39 years, non-Hispanic whites, married men, and those in pilot/air crew occupations. Male Air Force members had the highest overall incidence of vasectomy and men in the Marine Corps, the lowest. Crude annual vasectomy rates among service men increased slightly between 2000 and 2017. The largest increases in rates over the 18-year period occurred among service men aged 35–49 years and among men working as pilots/air crew. Among those who underwent vasectomy, 1.8% also had at least 1 vasectomy reversal during the surveillance period. The likelihood of vasectomy reversal decreased with advancing age. Non-Hispanic black and Hispanic service men were more likely than those of other race/ethnicity groups to undergo vasectomy reversals.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Testosterone Replacement Therapy Use Among Active Component Service Men, 2017

Article
3/1/2019
Image of Marines carrying a wooden log for physical fitness. Click to open a larger version of the image.

This analysis summarizes the prevalence of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) during 2017 among active component service men by demographic and military characteristics. This analysis also determines the percentage of those receiving TRT in 2017 who had an indication for receiving TRT using the 2018 American Urological Association (AUA) clinical practice guidelines. In 2017, 5,093 of 1,076,633 active component service men filled a prescription for TRT, for a period prevalence of 4.7 per 1,000 male service members. After adjustment for covariates, the prevalence of TRT use remained highest among Army members, senior enlisted members, warrant officers, non-Hispanic whites, American Indians/Alaska Natives, those in combat arms occupations, healthcare workers, those who were married, and those with other/unknown marital status. Among active component male service members who received TRT in 2017, only 44.5% met the 2018 AUA clinical practice guidelines for receiving TRT.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Update: Incidence of Glaucoma Diagnoses, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2013–2017

Article
2/1/2019
Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease that involves progressive optic nerve damage and vision loss, leading to blindness if undetected or untreated. This report describes an analysis using the Defense Medical Surveillance System to identify all active component service members with an incident diagnosis of glaucoma during the period between 2013 and 2017. The analysis identified 37,718 incident cases of glaucoma and an overall incidence rate of 5.9 cases per 1,000 person-years (p-yrs). The majority of cases (97.6%) were diagnosed at an early stage as borderline glaucoma; of these borderline cases, 2.2% progressed to open-angle glaucoma during the study period. No incident cases of absolute glaucoma, or total blindness, were identified. Rates of glaucoma were higher among non-Hispanic black (11.0 per 1,000 p-yrs), Asian/Pacific Islander (9.5), and Hispanic (6.9) service members, compared with non-Hispanic white (4.0) service members. Rates among female service members (6.6 per 1,000 p-yrs) were higher than those among male service members (5.8). Between 2013 and 2017, incidence rates of glaucoma diagnoses increased by 75.4% among all service members.

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Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Update: Malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Article
2/1/2019
Anopheles merus

Malaria infection remains an important health threat to U.S. service mem­bers who are located in endemic areas because of long-term duty assign­ments, participation in shorter-term contingency operations, or personal travel. In 2018, a total of 58 service members were diagnosed with or reported to have malaria. This represents a 65.7% increase from the 35 cases identi­fied in 2017. The relatively low numbers of cases during 2012–2018 mainly reflect decreases in cases acquired in Afghanistan, a reduction due largely to the progressive withdrawal of U.S. forces from that country. The percentage of cases of malaria caused by unspecified agents (63.8%; n=37) in 2018 was the highest during any given year of the surveillance period. The percent­age of cases identified as having been caused by Plasmodium vivax (10.3%; n=6) in 2018 was the lowest observed during the 10-year surveillance period. The percentage of malaria cases attributed to P. falciparum (25.9 %) in 2018 was similar to that observed in 2017 (25.7%), although the number of cases increased. Malaria was diagnosed at or reported from 31 different medical facilities in the U.S., Afghanistan, Italy, Germany, Djibouti, and Korea. Pro­viders of medical care to military members should be knowledgeable of and vigilant for clinical manifestations of malaria outside of endemic areas.

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Re-evaluation of the MSMR Case Definition for Incident Cases of Malaria

Article
2/1/2019
Anopheles merus

The MSMR has been publishing the results of surveillance studies of malaria since 1995. The standard MSMR case definition uses Medical Event Reports and records of hospitalizations in counting cases of malaria. This report summarizes the performance of the standard MSMR case definition in estimating incident cases of malaria from 2015 through 2017. Also explored was the potential surveillance value of including outpatient encounters with diagnoses of malaria or positive laboratory tests for malaria in the case definition. The study corroborated the relative accuracy of the MSMR case definition in estimating malaria incidence and provided the basis for updating the case definition in 2019 to include positive laboratory tests for malaria antigen within 30 days of an outpatient diagnosis.

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Outbreak of Acute Respiratory Illness Associated with Adenovirus Type 4 at the U.S. Naval Academy, 2016

Article
2/1/2019
Malaria case definition

Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) are known to cause respiratory illness outbreaks at basic military training (BMT) sites. HAdV type-4 and -7 vaccines are routinely administered at enlisted BMT sites, but not at military academies. During August–September 2016, U.S. Naval Academy clinical staff noted an increase in students presenting with acute respiratory illness (ARI). An investigation was conducted to determine the extent and cause of the outbreak. During 22 August–11 September 2016, 652 clinic visits for ARI were identified using electronic health records. HAdV-4 was confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction assay in 18 out of 33 patient specimens collected and 1 additional HAdV case was detected from hospital records. Two HAdV-4 positive patients were treated for pneumonia including 1 hospitalized patient. Molecular analysis of 4 HAdV-4 isolates identified genome type 4a1, which is considered vaccine-preventable. Understanding the impact of HAdV in congregate settings other than enlisted BMT sites is necessary to inform discussions regarding future HAdV vaccine strategy.

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Adrenal Gland Disorders, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002–2017

Article
12/1/2018

During 2002–2017, the most common incident adrenal gland disorder among male and female service members was adrenal insufficiency and the least common was adrenomedullary hyperfunction. Adrenal insufficiency was diagnosed among 267 females (crude overall incidence rate: 8.2 cases per 100,000 person-years [p-yrs]) and 729 males (3.9 per 100,000 p-yrs). In both sexes, overall rates of other disorders of adrenal gland and Cushing’s syndrome were lower than for adrenal insufficiency but higher than for hyperaldosteronism, adrenogenital disorders, and adrenomedullary hyperfunction. Crude overall rates of adrenal gland disorders among females tended to be higher than those of males, with female:male rate ratios ranging from 2.1 for adrenal insufficiency to 5.5 for androgenital disorders and Cushing’s syndrome. The highest overall rates of adrenal insufficiency for males and females were among non-Hispanic white service members. Among females, rates of Cushing’s syndrome and other disorders of adrenal gland were 31.6 per 100,000 active component service members in 2017. Validation of ICD-9/ICD-10 diagnostic codes for MetS using the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria is needed to establish the level of agreement between the two methods for identifying this condition.

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Incidence and Prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome Using ICD-9 and ICD-10 Diagnostic Codes, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002–2017

Article
12/1/2018

This report uses ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes (277.7 and E88.81, respectively) for the metabolic syndrome (MetS) to summarize trends in the incidence and prevalence of this condition among active component members of the U.S. Armed Forces between 2002 and 2017. During this period, the crude overall incidence rate of MetS was 7.5 cases per 100,000 person-years (p-yrs). Compared to their respective counterparts, overall incidence rates were highest among Asian/Pacific Islanders, Air Force members, and warrant officers and were lowest among those of other/unknown race/ethnicity, Marine Corps members, and junior enlisted personnel and officers. During 2002–2017, the annual incidence rates of MetS peaked in 2009 at 11.6 cases per 100,000 p-yrs and decreased to 5.9 cases per 100,000 p-yrs in 2017. Annual prevalence rates of MetS increased steadily during the first 11 years of the surveillance period reaching a high of 38.9 per 100,000 active component service members in 2012, after which rates declined slightly to 31.6 per 100,000 active component service members in 2017. Validation of ICD-9/ICD-10 diagnostic codes for MetS using the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria is needed to establish the level of agreement between the two methods for identifying this condition.

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Thyroid Disorders, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2008–2017

Article
12/1/2018

This analysis describes the incidence and prevalence of five thyroid disorders (goiter, thyrotoxicosis, primary/not otherwise specified [NOS] hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, and other disorders of the thyroid) among active component service members between 2008 and 2017. During the 10-year surveillance period, the most common incident thyroid disorder among male and female service members was primary/NOS hypothyroidism and the least common were thyroiditis and other disorders of thyroid. Primary/NOS hypothyroidism was diagnosed among 8,641 females (incidence rate: 43.7 per 10,000 person-years [p-yrs]) and 11,656 males (incidence rate: 10.2 per 10,000 p-yrs). Overall incidence rates of all thyroid disorders were 3 to 5 times higher among females compared to males. Among both males and females, incidence of primary/NOS hypothyroidism was higher among non-Hispanic white service members compared with service members in other race/ethnicity groups. The incidence of most thyroid disorders remained stable or decreased during the surveillance period. Overall, the prevalence of most thyroid disorders increased during the first part of the surveillance period and then either decreased or leveled off.31.6 per 100,000 active component service members in 2017. Validation of ICD-9/ICD-10 diagnostic codes for MetS using the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria is needed to establish the level of agreement between the two methods for identifying this condition.

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2018 #ColdReadiness Twitter chat recap: Preventing cold weather injuries for service members and their families

Fact Sheet
2/5/2018

To help protect U.S. armed forces, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch (AFHSB) hosted a live #ColdReadiness Twitter chat on Wednesday, January 24th, 12-1:30 pm EST to discuss what service members and their families need to know about winter safety and preventing cold weather injuries as the temperatures drop. This fact sheet documents highlights from the Twitter chat.

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Heat Illnesses by Location, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012-2016 Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet
3/30/2017

This fact sheet provides details on heat illnesses by location during a five-year surveillance period from 2012 through 2016. 11,967 heat-related illnesses were diagnosed at more than 250 military installations and geographic locations worldwide. Three Army Installations accounted for close to one-third of all heat illnesses during the period.

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Rhabdomyolysis by Location, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012-2016 Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet
3/30/2017

This fact sheet provides details on Rhabdomyolysis by location for active component, U.S. Armed Forces during a five-year surveillance period from 2012 through 2016. The medical treatment facilities at nine installations diagnosed at least 50 cases each and, together approximately half (49.9%) of all diagnosed cases.

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Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Demographic and Military Traits of Service Members Diagnosed as Traumatic Brain Injury Cases

Fact Sheet
3/30/2017

This fact sheet provides details on the demographic and military traits of service members diagnosed as traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases during a 16-year surveillance period from 2001 through 2016, a total of 276,858 active component service members received first-time diagnoses of TBI - a structural alteration of the brain or physiological disruption of brain function caused by an external force.

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Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report
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