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Department of Navy policy and guidance for medical surveillance and medical event reporting is set forth in BUMED Instructions series 6220.12 and 6200.17; fleet policy is set forth via fleet messaging. The purpose of medical surveillance in the Navy is to ensure timely recognition and control of disease threats and estimate distribution of disease and disease risk in order to inform policy and resource allocation decisions. NMCPHC supports this effort by maintaining Disease Reporting System, internet (DRSi) and supporting the use of the syndromic surveillance tools Electronic Surveillance System for Early Notification of Community based Epidemics (ESSENCE) and Disease and Injury Surveillance (D&I). NMCPHC also works to improve reporting and to analyze medical surveillance data to inform leadership decisions.

Navy Medical Department personnel who diagnose a patient with a reportable disease shall report those cases as outlined in BUMEDINST 6220.12 series, preferably via DRSi. Syndromic surveillance is one component of the comprehensive, continuous and consistent military health surveillance required under DoD Directive 6490.02 series. DoD Instruction 6200.03 directs installations within the United States to ensure two trained ESSENCE users are actively monitoring ESSENCE. For units without access to ESSENCE, surveillance via the conduct of D&I surveillance can enable early detection and monitoring of disease threats.

In January 2020, the DoD implemented mandatory reporting of all confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 via the Disease Reporting System internet (DRSi) for military service members and other beneficiaries. Cases must be classified according to the most recent DoD case definition for COVID-19.

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