Navy participates in national and global biosurveillance strategy

The United States Navy is conducting advanced research and coordinating resources on the national and global level as part of an effort to prevent attacks involving biological agents, infectious diseases and food-borne illnesses.

As part of the National Strategy for Biosurveillance, which was issued by the White House in July, the Department of Defense is conducting advanced biosurveillance research at the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Navy also has research units in North Africa, the Pacific, Latin America and elsewhere that support biosurveillance development.

Recently, NAMRU-2 helped Cambodia's Ministry of Health to respond to an outbreak of enterovirus 71 that killed more than 50 children.

"In a country with very limited capacity, the NAMRU may start by helping local public hospitals design a systematic collection of samples and have samples sent to one of (NMRC's) central labs to provide results while they build internal lab capacity," Capt. John W. Sanders, NMRC's commanding officer, said.

In countries with limited resources, the NAMRU constructs biosurveillance systems to ensure a more secure global response to diseases. The NAMRU also supports large scale biosurveillance in resource rich countries.

By supporting both the White House's strategy for biosurveillance and other military services, the NMRC, the NAMRUs and the Navy Medicine Office of Global Health Engagement help to forward a global health mission to secure safety and health around the world.