The Defense Department has invested an additional $1.76 million in military laboratories as part of the department’s global Zika virus surveillance effort on deployed service members, DoD News reported Monday.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Franca Jones, chief of the global emerging infections surveillance and response section within the Defense Health Agency, said the fund recipients are part of the GEIS integrated surveillance network of U.S. Army and Navy medical research labs worldwide.
Four lab partners based in the U.S. and five overseas labs will update their work on Zika virus surveillance projects in 18 countries and territories, Cheryl Pellerin reports.
“Our forces are present globally, and we need to make sure that they are able to complete their mission,” Jones said.
“Infectious diseases are one of the things that can impede their ability to do their mission.”
The DoD labs will use the funding to examine DoD personnel based in the U.S., the Caribbean and other overseas locations for Zika, dengue and chikungunya exposures using blood samples in the DoD serum repository, the report said.
Pellerin writes the labs will also check for the presence of the Zika virus in mosquitoes in the Caribbean, East Africa and Southeast Asia and determine whether service members, military beneficiaries and civilians seeking medical care are infected with the virus.