The HDIAC Team has produced a multi-volume training video series to accompany its monthly live webinars and shorter video podcasts. It is our intent to make such longer training series available to our registered members for use as training aids for both individuals and groups, allowing deeper study of topics that are of high interest to the HDIAC Community of Practice.
This two-part series and associated state of the art report discuss infectious diseases from the viewpoint of the military warfighter. Infectious diseases are disorders caused by pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites that can be passed by human-to-human contact, by insects or other animals, or by contaminated surfaces, food, or water. By its very nature, warfare lends itself to the spread of such disease, and contagions have had an impact on every conflict. During the Napoleonic wars, eight times more soldiers in the British Army died from disease than from wounds sustained in battle, and Napoleon turned back during a Mediterranean campaign due to plague; in the U.S. Civil War, fully two-thirds of the 650,000 casualties were due to infectious disease. The very conditions anticipated in combat – operating in close quarters in spartan conditions, deployments to remote areas, exposure to unknown pathogens, the rigors and wounds associated with combat, and the potential for encountering weaponized agents – are known to be precursors to the spread of diseases that can and have decimated combat readiness.
The purpose of these 2 episodes and state of the art report are to:
- Provide historical insight into infectious disease
- Provide an overview of infectious disease and its impact on military forces
- Provide a greater understanding of the need to plan for infectious disease in anticipation of military deployments
- Offer a summary of current countermeasures for infectious diseases likely to be encountered in an expeditionary environment