The Double-Edged Sword of Military Response to Societal Disruptions: A Systematic Review of the Evidence for Military Personnel as Pathogen Transmitters

Juliana N. Zemke, Jose L. Sanchez, Junxiong Pang, Gregory C. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Given their lack of immunity and increased exposure, military personnel have the potential to serve as carriers or reservoirs for infectious diseases into or out of the deployment areas, but, to our knowledge, the historical evidence for such transmission events has not previously been reviewed. Using PubMed, we performed a systematic review of published literature between 1955 and 2018, which documented evidence for military personnel transporting infectious pathogens into or out of deployment areas. Of the 439 articles screened, 67 were included for final qualitative and quantitative review. The data extracted from these articles described numerous instances in which thousands of military service members demonstrated potential or actual transmission and transportation of multiple diverse pathogens. These data underscore the immense importance preventive medical professionals play in mitigating such risk, how their public health efforts must be supported, and the importance of surveillance in protecting both military and civilian populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1873-1884
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume220
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 6 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Communicable Diseases
  • Global Health
  • Military Medicine
  • Military Personnel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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