The Defense Medical Surveillance System and the Department of Defense serum repository: glimpses of the future of public health surveillance

Am J Public Health. 2002 Dec;92(12):1900-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.12.1900.


The Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS) is the central repository of medical surveillance data for the US armed forces. The DMSS integrates data from sources worldwide in a continuously expanding relational database that documents the military and medical experiences of service members throughout their careers. The Department of Defense Serum Repository (DoDSR) is a central archive of sera drawn from service members for medical surveillance purposes. Currently, the DMSS contains data relevant to more than 7 million individuals who have served in the armed forces since 1990, and the DoDSR contains more than 27 million specimens that are linkable to data in the DMSS. Recent applications of the DMSS and DoDSR provide glimpses of the capabilities and uses of comprehensive public health surveillance systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Confidentiality
  • Humans
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Military Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Exposure / standards
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Public Health Informatics
  • United States