History of U.S. military contributions to the study of bacterial zoonoses

George W. Christopher*, Brian K. Agan, Theodore J. Cieslak, Patrick E. Olson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Bacterial zoonoses have afflicted campaigns throughout military history, at times playing an important role in determining their outcomes. In addition, zoonotic bacteria are among the leading biological warfare threats. The U.S. military medical services have been at the forefront of research to define the basic microbiology, ecology, epidemiology, and clinical aspects of these diseases. This historical review discusses the military significance of plague, Q fever, anthrax, leptospirosis, bartonellosis, tularemia, and brucellosis and the U.S. military medical research counteroffensive. These contributions have ranged from basic molecular biology to elegant epidemiological surveys, from defining pathogenesis to developing new vaccine candidates. In an era of emerging diseases and biological weapons, the U.S. military will continue to lead a dynamic research effort to counter these disease threats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number4 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


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