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

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 Division | 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...

More Than 95% of Active Duty Have Received COVID-19 Vaccine

Article
10/15/2021
Female hospital corpsman gives a COVID-19 vaccine injection to a sailor in her left arm

Service members continue to line up for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

Mask Mouth Does Not Exist, Dentists Say

Article
10/6/2021
A bunch of children wearing face masks walk on a city street.

Mask mouth doesn’t exist, Internet chatter to the contrary, dentists say.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Booster Shots are Now Available – What You Need to Know

Article
9/30/2021
Containers of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Each vial contains six doses for vaccination against the COVID-19 virus.

Booster shots are now recommended for millions of people – but many others will have to wait for additional approvals.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Myths & facts about the vax - debunking common COVID-19 vaccine myths

Article
9/29/2021
Myths and facts about the vax

The COVID-19 vaccine has been mandated across the Department of Defense and despite its demonstrated effectiveness and safety, a host of myths have left some Airmen and Guardians hesitant to receive it. While social media posts and some news outlets may make it harder to keep up with what is fact or fiction, the science is clear … approved COVID-19 vaccines work.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DODEA Schools Keeps On With In-Person Classes, and Fall Sports, Too

Article
9/23/2021
Kids playing football

DODEA schools are striving to continue in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus

The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Health Care Workers are Coping

Article
9/13/2021
a nurse helping a COVID-19 patient

For health care providers, experiencing the pandemic inside a hospital has brought

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Military Health Podcasts

Increased COVID Restrictions on the Pentagon Reservation

Article
9/8/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and positive test cases in the National Capital Region, the Pentagon Reservation will move to Health Protection Condition Bravo Plus (Bravo+)

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

As Fitness Tests Resume, Troops Seek Post-COVID Exercise Routines

Article
8/31/2021
Military personnel physically training

Keeping fit during pandemic proves hard for some.

Recommended Content:

Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Coronavirus

Digital health innovation emerges during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
8/31/2021
The Defense Health Agency’s Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic. (Graphic courtesy of DHA Connected Health)

The DHA's Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise, and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Connected Health | Coronavirus

Secretary of Defense Mandates COVID-19 Vaccinations for Service Members

Article
8/26/2021
An Army medic administers the COVID-19 vaccine to another soldier.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III yesterday issued a memorandum directing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for service members.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DOD Intends to Mandate Pfizer Vaccine, Pentagon Official Says

Article
8/25/2021
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a press briefing, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Kirby said the health of DOD's military and civilian employees, families and communities is a top priority.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Maintaining Mission Readiness During a Pandemic

Article
8/24/2021
Gen. Place presents at HIMSS in Las Vegas.

DHA Director Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place discussed the national security implications of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask | Deployment Health

Reform, COVID-19 Have Been Catalysts for Change in Military Medicine

Article
8/16/2021
Dr. Terry Adirim speaking to an audience at a conference

Healthcare is about taking care of people, so no amount of change or innovation is ever sufficient if modernization does not lead to helping patients, says acting ASDHA at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Military Health System Transformation

Don't Hesitate: Vaccinate Today for School

Article
8/13/2021
A boy gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Back to School Means Vaccine Time

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations | Children's Health | Immunizations | TRICARE Health Program

Services Will Make Call on Religious Exemptions to COVID-19 Vaccines

Article
8/13/2021
Two medical people prepare syringes with doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

"There is a religious exemption possibility for any mandatory vaccine, and there's a process that we go through to counsel the individual both from a medical and from a command perspective about using a religious exemption," Kirby said.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 27

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.