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

Malaria and other vector-borne infection surveillance in the U.S. Department of Defense Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center-Global Emerging Infections Surveillance program: review of 2009 accomplishments

Mark M Fukuda1*, Terry A Klein2, Tadeusz Kochel3, Talia M Quandelacy1, Bryan L Smith, Jeff Villinski5, Delia Bethell4, Stuart Tyner4, Youry Se4, Chanthap Lon4, David Saunders4, Jacob Johnson5, Eric Wagar6, Douglas Walsh6, Matthew Kasper7, Jose L Sanchez1, Clara J Witt1, Qin Cheng8, Norman Waters8, Sanjaya K Shrestha4, Julie A Pavlin4, Andres G Lescano3, Paul CF Graf3, Jason H Richardson4, Salomon Durand3, William O Rogers7, David L Blazes1, Kevin L Russell1 and the AFHSC-GEIS Malaria and Vector Borne Infections Writing Group1456789

Author Affiliations

1 Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, 2900 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA

2 Force Health Protection and Preventive Medicine, 65th Medical Brigade, Unit 15281, APO AP 96205-5281 USA (Republic of Korea

3 US Naval Medical Research Center Detachment (NMRCD), Centro Medico Naval “CMST,” Av. Venezuela CDRA 36, Callao 2, Lima, Peru

4 US Army Medical Component Armed Forces Research Institute of the Medical Sciences, APO AP 96546, Bangkok, Thailand

5 US Army Medical Research Unit Kenya, United States Embassy, ATTN: MRU, United Nations Avenue, Post Office Box 606, Village Market, 00621 Nairobi, Kenya

6 US Naval Medical Research Unit Number 3, Extension of Ramses Street, Adjacent to Abbassia Fever Hospital, Postal Code 11517, Cairo, Egypt

7 US Navy Medical Research Unit-2, U.S. Embassy Unit 8166 Box P, APO AP 96546, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

8 Australian Army Malaria Institute, Weary Dunlop Drive, Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera, QLD 4051 Australia

9 Naval Medical Research Center, 503 Robert Grant Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11(Suppl 2):S9  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-S2-S9

Published: 4 March 2011


Vector-borne infections (VBI) are defined as infectious diseases transmitted by the bite or mechanical transfer of arthropod vectors. They constitute a significant proportion of the global infectious disease burden. United States (U.S.) Department of Defense (DoD) personnel are especially vulnerable to VBIs due to occupational contact with arthropod vectors, immunological naiveté to previously unencountered pathogens, and limited diagnostic and treatment options available in the austere and unstable environments sometimes associated with military operations. In addition to the risk uniquely encountered by military populations, other factors have driven the worldwide emergence of VBIs. Unprecedented levels of global travel, tourism and trade, and blurred lines of demarcation between zoonotic VBI reservoirs and human populations increase vector exposure. Urban growth in previously undeveloped regions and perturbations in global weather patterns also contribute to the rise of VBIs. The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center-Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) and its partners at DoD overseas laboratories form a network to better characterize the nature, emergence and growth of VBIs globally. In 2009 the network tested 19,730 specimens from 25 sites for Plasmodium species and malaria drug resistance phenotypes and nearly another 10,000 samples to determine the etiologies of non-Plasmodium species VBIs from regions spanning from Oceania to Africa, South America, and northeast, south and Southeast Asia. This review describes recent VBI-related epidemiological studies conducted by AFHSC-GEIS partner laboratories within the OCONUS DoD laboratory network emphasizing their impact on human populations.