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This article is part of the supplement: Department of Defense Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (GEIS): an update for 2009

Open Access Review

A growing global network’s role in outbreak response: AFHSC-GEIS 2008-2009

Matthew C Johns1*, Ronald L Burke1, Kelly G Vest1, Mark Fukuda1, Julie A Pavlin2, Sanjaya K Shrestha3, David C Schnabel4, Steven Tobias5, Jeffrey A Tjaden6, Joel M Montgomery7, Dennis J Faix8, Mark R Duffy9, Michael J Cooper10, Jose L Sanchez1, David L Blazes1 and the AFHSC-GEIS Outbreak Response Writing Group102345689

Author Affiliations

1 Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, 11800 Tech Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20904, USA

2 Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, 315/6 Rajavithi Rd., Bangkok, Thailand 10400

3 Walter Reed/AFRIMS Research Unit Nepal, c/o U.S. Embassy, P.O. Box 295, Kathmandu, Nepal

4 U.S. Embassy, Attn: MRU, United Nations Avenue, P.O. Box 606, Village Market 00621 Nairobi, Kenya

5 Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2, Kompleks Pergudangan DEPKES R.I., JI. Percetakan Negara II No. 23, Jakarta, 10560, Indonesia

6 Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Extension of Ramses Street, Adjacent to Abbassia Fever Hospital, Postal Code 11517, Cairo, Egypt

7 Naval Medical Research Center Detachment-Peru, Centro Medico Naval “CMST,” Av. Venezuela CDRA 36, Callao 2, Lima, Peru

8 Naval Health Research Center, 140 Sylvester Rd., San Diego, Calif. 92106, USA

9 U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Epidemiology Consult Service, 2513 Kennedy Circle, Bldg 180, Brooks City Base, Texas 78235, USA

10 U.S. Public Health Command (Provisional)-Public Health Region-Europe, Landstuhl, Germany

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11(Suppl 2):S3  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-S2-S3

Published: 4 March 2011


A cornerstone of effective disease surveillance programs comprises the early identification of infectious threats and the subsequent rapid response to prevent further spread. Effectively identifying, tracking and responding to these threats is often difficult and requires international cooperation due to the rapidity with which diseases cross national borders and spread throughout the global community as a result of travel and migration by humans and animals. From Oct.1, 2008 to Sept. 30, 2009, the United States Department of Defense’s (DoD) Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) identified 76 outbreaks in 53 countries. Emerging infectious disease outbreaks were identified by the global network and included a wide spectrum of support activities in collaboration with host country partners, several of which were in direct support of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005). The network also supported military forces around the world affected by the novel influenza A/H1N1 pandemic of 2009. With IHR (2005) as the guiding framework for action, the AFHSC-GEIS network of international partners and overseas research laboratories continues to develop into a far-reaching system for identifying, analyzing and responding to emerging disease threats.