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Service members often live and work in close quarters, making them vulnerable to the spread of contagious pathogens that can degrade operational readiness. Situational awareness of respiratory morbidity and outbreaks is key to protecting and maintaining operational readiness and force health protection.


We determine etiologies of respiratory pathogens that cause disease among Department of Defense (DoD) beneficiaries and provide actionable surveillance data to military line and medical leaders and research partners. The work done by our Respiratory Surveillance team serves as an early warning system for the presence of dangerous pathogens, allowing military leaders and medical professionals to take action that prevents or contains respiratory disease outbreaks.


  • Determine etiology of respiratory pathogens causing clinical disease
  • Conduct surveillance to provide early warning for respiratory disease outbreaks and alert and inform DoD stakeholders
  • Evaluate new respiratory diagnostics
  • Estimate influenza vaccine effectiveness and provide data to the CDC on the annual influenza vaccines


  • Test samples collected by NHRC or collaborator using a broad respiratory panel
  • Publish weekly and quarterly updates with rates and etiologies for respiratory pathogens
  • Further characterization of identified pathogens through functional and genetic assays, including Whole Genome Sequencing

NHRC’s bacteriology section specializes in the culture of respiratory pathogens, including:

  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Haemophilus influenza
  • Staphylococcus aureus

NHRC uses viral culture and immunoassays to isolate and identify respiratory viruses to include:

  • Influenza
  • Adenovirus
  • Respiratory syncytial virus


  • Febrile respiratory illness (FRI) disease surveillance to monitor rates and identify outbreaks
    • Shipboard
    • Recruit training sites
    • Military clinics
    • U.S.-Mexico border
  • Etiology and epidemiology of pneumonia
  • Annual estimate of influenza vaccine effectiveness

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