DOD funds additional Zika monitoring

Congress may be dragging its feet on approving funding to address the spread of the Zika virus, but the Defense Department has programmed at least some money toward monitoring its progress.

According to a news release from the department, DOD is providing $1.76 million in extra funding to military laboratories to expand Zika surveillance worldwide—and to assess its effect on deployed service members’ health and readiness.

The virus surveillance will involve 10 projects in 18 countries and territories by four lab partners based in the United States and five located overseas. The labs receiving more Zika virus funds are part an integrated worldwide emerging infectious disease surveillance network mounted by the Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response (GEIS) section of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch, which is part of the Defense Health Agency’s Public Health Division.

The network includes Army or Navy medical research labs in Egypt, Georgia, Kenya, Peru, Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore—and Army, Navy and Air Force labs in the United States, working in more than 60 countries.

GEIS already has provided its network partners with more than $51 million to support emerging infectious disease surveillance programs during this fiscal year, according to DOD.

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