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

DoD Leverages GEIS Respiratory Surveillance to Respond to COVID-19

Image of Three men in a pig pen taking samples. Click to open a larger version of the image. 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...

DHA-Policy Memorandum 21-004: Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination Attestation, Screening Testing, and Vaccination Verification

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance on the implementation of vaccination, attestation, and testing requirements in accordance with the References listed in Attachment 1 to reduce the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

6205.01

Policy

Medical Logistics Guidance for the DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program

20-004

Policy

Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation

TAB A MEO COVID19 Medical Coding Policy

Policy

Memorandum for DHA Staff - Military Medical Treatment Facilities to Implement Updated DHA COVID-19 Medical Coding Policy

  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA COVID19 Medical Coding PolicyV5 1v

Policy

Establishes the DHA procedures to standardize the coding for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) within military medical treatment facilities (MTFs). This memorandum replaces DHA-Policy Memorandum 20-003 of July 1, 2020. Attachment 1 was updated to include the 2021 procedure and diagnosis codes for COVID-19, including the new vaccination and treatment codes.

  • Identification #: 20-003
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

Supplemental Guidance for Providing DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccines to DoD Contractor Employees and Select Foreign Nationals

Policy

This memorandum provides supplemental guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, in accordance with reference (a). The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components as appropriate.

HA Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Laboratory Pre-Testing Questionnaire

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance for a COVID-19 laboratory pre-testing questionnaire that will be mandatory for all Active Duty Service members and encouraged for all other DoD beneficiaries treated at military medical treatment facilities.

Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines

Policy

This EO outlines who should receive priority access to COVID-19 vaccines developed in the United States or procured by the United States Government (“United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines”).

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Guidance

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components.

3020.01, Change 2

Policy

Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Environment

  • Identification #: 3020.01
  • Date: 11/3/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

3020.01, Change 1

Policy

Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Environment

  • Identification #: 3020.01
  • Date: 6/12/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

Military Medical Treatment Facilities to Implement Updated DHA COVID-19 Medical Coding Policy

Policy

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) Memorandum, based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) and (d), establishes the DHA’s procedures to standardize the coding for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs). This memorandum cancels and replaces DHA- Policy Memorandum 20-003 of (13 April 2020). A change was issued since the cancelled Memorandum 20-003 of (13 April 2020), the Attachment titles were updated to reflect that Attachments 1, 2, and 4 are considered Policies as opposed to Guidance.

  • Identification #: 20-003
  • Date: 5/13/2020
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

Armed Forces Reportable Medical Events Guidelines and Case Definitions Memo

Policy

The Armed Forces Reportable Medical Events Guidelines and Case Definitions (RME Guidelines) standardize reporting and tracking of disease and other conditions of public health and military importance. Timely reporting permits earlier recognition of public health events and interventions to protect the health of the force.

Establishing an Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center

Policy

Establishing an Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch." In accordance with DoD Directive 5101,1, "DoD Executive Agent" September 3, 2002, this memorandum designates the Secretary of the Army as the DoD Executive Agent for the AFHSB, which includes the Defense Medical Surveillance System and the DoD Serum Repository. . . The DoD EA shall further ensure that the Center POC aligns and integrates the current surveillance activities of the Army Medical Surveillance Activity and the DoD Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System with surveillance activities of the DoD Deployment Health Support Directorate.

Showing results 1 - 14 Page 1 of 1

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.