PACAF takes entomology lessons learned to Sri Lanka
By Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman, Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
/ Published August 14, 2018
ANURADHAPURA, Sri Lanka -- Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) medics conducted an entomology discussion with Sri Lankan civilian public health officials, entomologists, military doctors, and military public health officials during a four-day exchange as part of Pacific Angel (PAC ANGEL) 18-4 in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, Aug. 7-10.
The exchange, lead by U.S. Air Force Capt. Caroline Brooks, 18th Aerospace Medicine Squadron medical entomologist, focused on the importance of studying insects and controlling vector borne diseases.
“Vector borne diseases are on the rise,” Brooks said. “Education on control and prevention has proven to be instrumental in helping combat infectious diseases.”
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the dengue virus is a mosquito-borne, acute illness that is a major public health problem in the tropics and subtropics worldwide.
“It is important for us to ensure others are properly trained and knowledge is passed on to our personnel down the line,” said Air Capt. Rahuman Booso, Sri Lanka air force doctor. “Entomology was chosen because dengue is on the rise throughout the country and the information presented will help us in developing practical solutions to combating this infectious disease.”
About 400 million people are infected with the dengue virus each year, resulting in approximately 100 million becoming ill and causing around 21,000 deaths.
To combat the issue of vector borne diseases like dengue, Brooks, Booso and U.S. Air Force Maj. Vicki Charbonneau, 15th Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health officer, held a series of discussions, lectures and hands-on training.
“This exchange has given us an opportunity to share ideas and work together to prepare for potential disasters,” Charbonneau said. “The cross flow of information is integral to our ability to operate together now and in the future.”
PAC ANGEL 18-4 is helping foster partnerships between the U.S. and Sri Lanka through multilateral humanitarian assistance and civil military operations that promote regional cooperation and interoperability between military, civilian and nongovernmental organizations.