The Double-Edged Sword of Military Response to Societal Disruptions: A Systematic Review of the Evidence for Military Personnel as Pathogen Transmitters.


Journal Article

Given their lack of immunity and increased exposure, military personnel have the potential to serve as carriers or reservoirs for infectious diseases into or out of the deployment areas, but, to our knowledge, the historical evidence for such transmission events has not previously been reviewed. Using PubMed, we performed a systematic review of published literature between 1955 and 2018, which documented evidence for military personnel transporting infectious pathogens into or out of deployment areas. Of the 439 articles screened, 67 were included for final qualitative and quantitative review. The data extracted from these articles described numerous instances in which thousands of military service members demonstrated potential or actual transmission and transportation of multiple diverse pathogens. These data underscore the immense importance preventive medical professionals play in mitigating such risk, how their public health efforts must be supported, and the importance of surveillance in protecting both military and civilian populations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zemke, JN; Sanchez, JL; Pang, J; Gray, GC

Published Date

  • November 6, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 220 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 1873 - 1884

PubMed ID

  • 31519020

Pubmed Central ID

  • 31519020

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-6613

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/infdis/jiz400


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States