RESPONSIBILITIES FOR HEALTH
The commander of a military organization is responsible for the health of his command.
In the fulfillment of this responsibility, he is assisted by a staff of trained specialists. The
surgeon, who is the chief medical advisor to the commander, provides technical medical
advice and is responsible for the successful functioning of the medical service within the
command. Additional support is readily available from field medical treatment facilities, Army
medical laboratories, Medical Department table of organization and equipment (TOE) units,
and facilities of The Surgeon General's office. Emphasis throughout the Army at all levels
is on prevention of disease, using all available information concerning the epidemiology
of those diseases which are of military or public health significance.
In order to approach the subject of disease transmission and epidemiology in a
clear and logical manner, it is necessary to establish a common ground in the use of
terminology. The following terms will be used frequently throughout this subcourse.
a. Disease. Disease is an impairment of the normal state of the living animal or
plant body that affects the performance of the vital functions. The presence of disease
usually results in visible signs or symptoms.
b. Communicable Disease. A communicable disease is an illness that can be
transmitted person to person or from animal to person.
c. Agent. An agent is a disease-producing organism or substance.
d. Infection. Infection is the entrance and multiplication of infectious (disease-
producing) agents into the body of man or animal.
e. Reservoir. A reservoir is the source of a disease, harboring the infectious
agent(s). The agent either multiplies or undergoes some development with the
organism or substance acting as the reservoir.
f. Mode of Transmission. The mode of transmission is the means by which a
disease is transmitted from one person or animal to another.
g. Vector. A vector is an animal or arthropod that plays a part in the
transmission of disease. A disease vector may be either the reservoir or the vehicle in
h. Host. The host is the living body upon which a parasite or infectious agent
lives--the final recipient of a disease agent. The host of a disease may be either a case
or a carrier.
i. Case. A case refers to a person who is actually ill with a disease.
j. Carrier. A carrier is an individual (or animal) who is infected with a disease,
agent and is capable of transmitting the disease, but who usually does not exhibit