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Prevention, Policies and Priorities to Reduce the Impact of Malaria on US Military Forces
ARMED FORCES HEALTH SURVEILLANCE CENTER SILVER SPRING MD
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Malaria remains a significant force health protection issue and Service members contracting malaria continue to make headlines in the national news. The Medical Surveillance Monthly Report describes the greatest number of P. falciparum cases in the Department of Defense DoD since 2003 and malaria consistently ranks as the most important infectious disease threat to the U.S. military. Although progress has been noted in some areas e.g. decline in P. vivax and malaria cases in Korea, malaria exposures in Afghanistan and Africa continue to put Service members at risk. Despite known strategies to prevent malaria, protective measures and prevention practices are not uniformly implemented in the DoD. In August 2011, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center AFHSC hosted the 2011 DoD Malaria Stakeholder Meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland, entitled Prevention, Policies and Priorities to Reduce the Impact of Malaria on U.S. Military Forces. Dr. George Taylor Deputy, ASD FHPR welcomed the more than 50 participants from across the Armed Forces and charged them to find Tri-Service solutions to reduce the malaria burden in our DoD troops. Significant discussions addressed the need to improve diagnostic testing, clinical algorithms, and medical provider training, and how these activities directly affect data quality, malaria surveillance, military readiness and patient care. Additionally, attendees identified the lack of compliance with malaria chemoprophylaxis and protective equipment--preventive measures known to be effective--as significant issues that warranted further discussion. Considerable dialogue had surrounded chemoprophylaxis options and policy, and the need for standardized malaria policy, education and training of DoD medical personnel including guidance on malaria diagnosis, prophylaxis and treatment.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE