History of respiratory illness at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Throughout history, respiratory diseases have been a frequent cause of morbidity in U.S. populations. Because of stress, crowding, and naïve immune systems, military training populations are particularly prone to acute respiratory disease epidemics. An examination of the history of respiratory illness at the U.S. Naval Academy revealed that, in the earliest decades at the school, respiratory illness was a primary cause of both disease and mortality. With the advent of antibiotics and vaccines, most respiratory disease mortality has been reduced. However, even today, morbidity remains significant. Health concerns regarding respiratory diseases are heightened by emerging and reemerging respiratory disease agents that have increased antibiotic resistance and/or increased virulence. Enhanced surveillance and rapid diagnostic capabilities, placed in military settings, will increase knowledge of the epidemiology of many respiratory diseases. These strategies can lead to earlier treatment and prevention measures, thus halting the further transmission of disease and decreasing both morbidity and mortality. During the most recent history of the Naval Academy, acute respiratory infections have remained a primary cause of medical morbidity.
Gray, GC; Blankenship, TL; Gackstetter, G
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