World-wide Experts Discuss Pest Management Strategies at DoD Meeting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) — The Navy Entomology Center of Excellence (NECE) was the onsite host for the 200th meeting of the Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB) and 20th Triservice Pest Management Workshop held at NAS Jacksonville, March 22-27.

More than 150 scientists and pest management experts from around the world, including representatives from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, United States Department of Agriculture, and non-governmental organization partners, as well as representatives from private industry and academia were in attendance for the four-day event.

According to Capt. Mark Beavers, AFPMB director, the workshop theme “Conquering Challenges and Seizing Opportunities at Home and Abroad,” was chosen to showcase the wide range of issues that are now, or soon will be, impacting the Department of Defense (DoD) pest management and medical entomology communities.

“Examples of this include the reduction of U.S. forces in Southwest Asia, the DoD’s pivot to the Pacific, invasive species and biosecurity, malaria control and the increasing prevalence of insecticide resistance, climate change, and the increasing pest management needs of our installations here in the U.S. and around the world,” said Beavers.

The workshop provides a one-of-a-kind DoD forum that is solely focused on those vector-borne disease and pest management issues impacting the warfighter and other DoD personnel in the military’s unique operational, training, and garrison environments.

“Of the top 15 disease threats facing our troops abroad the top two are insect borne diseases, malaria and dengue,” said Rear Adm. Colin Chinn, command surgeon, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), who gave a talk entitled “USPACOM: Global Health Security Overview.”

Chinn’s presentation highlighted the importance of remaining diligent in our vector control strategies. “Malaria is not simply a Force Health Protection issue, but a public health responsibility,” added Chinn.

A consistent theme throughout the meeting was handling the challenges of responding to insect threats in the face of increased legislations and policies to reduce insecticide use in the environment.

“In today’s world, acceptance of pesticides is shrinking,” said Maureen Sullivan, director of Environment, Safety Occupational Health Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. “The challenge we are facing is to find new environmentally sound tools to combat insects that are acceptable to the public.”

Sullivan challenged the attendees to think beyond immediate insect threats and look to address future risks that may affect our troops in the face of changing political and environmental climates.

“For almost 60 years, the Armed Forces Pest Management Board has encouraged DoD pest management and vector control professionals and our partners to proactively identify issues affecting warfighter readiness and define joint solutions,” said Capt. Eric Hoffman, NECE officer in charge and AFPMB Council chairman. “The AFPMB Workshop provides an exceptional opportunity for our military and civilian colleagues to come together and actively engage in discussion addressing current and emerging concerns that impact military operations and global public health.”

For more information on Navy entomology, visit the NECE website at: http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcphc/nece/Pages/default.aspx

For more news from Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmcphc/.

Article source: http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=86290

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