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Vector Biology
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October 2019

A female Anopheles albimanus mosquito taking a blood meal.

Emerging Parasitic Disease Mimics the Symptoms of Visceral Leishmaniasis in People

October 01, 2019

A new study published today online in Emerging Infectious Diseases suggests that transmission of a protozoan parasite from insects may also cause leishmaniasis-like symptoms in people. The parasite, however, does not respond to treatment with standard leishmaniasis drugs. The research was conducted by scientists at the Federal Universities of Sergipe and São Carlos, the University of São Paulo, and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, all in Brazil, along with investigators at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S.

January 2019

confocal microscope image shows a cross section of a tick salivary gland infected with Langat virus

NIH Scientists Explore Tick Salivary Glands as Tool to Study Virus Transmission and Infection

January 29, 2019

The salivary glands of some tick species could become important research tools for studying how viruses are transmitted from ticks to mammals, and for developing preventive medical countermeasures. Tick salivary glands usually block transmission, but a new study conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health focuses on the role of salivary glands in spreading flaviviruses from black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) to mammals.

July 2018

An engorged deer tick

Tickborne Diseases Are Likely to Increase, Say NIAID Officials

July 25, 2018

The incidence of tickborne infections in the United States has risen significantly within the past decade. It is imperative, therefore, that public health officials and scientists build a robust understanding of pathogenesis, design improved diagnostics, and develop preventive vaccines, according to a new commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine from leading scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

September 2017

Anopheles gambiae mosquito

Disease Resistance Successfully Spread from Modified to Wild Mosquitoes

September 28, 2017

Using genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes to reduce or prevent the spread of infectious diseases is a new but rapidly expanding field of investigation. Among the challenges researchers face is ensuring that GM mosquitoes can compete and mate with their wild counterparts so the desired modification is preserved and spread in the wild population. Investigators at Johns Hopkins University have engineered GM mosquitoes to have an altered microbiota that suppresses human malaria-causing parasites.

August 2017

Langat virus infection (bright green) in the tick midgut (black) is shown at six days after infection in this fluorescence image

Scientists Develop Infection Model for Tick-borne Flaviviruses

August 22, 2017

National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists have filled a research gap by developing a laboratory model to study ticks that transmit flaviviruses, such as Powassan virus.  Powassan virus was implicated in the death of a New York man earlier this year. The unusual model involves culturing organs taken from Ixodes scapularis ticks and then infecting those organ cultures with flaviviruses, according to researchers at Rocky Mountain Laboratories, part of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

February 2017

Mosquito vaccine trial participant receives injection

NIH Begins Study of Vaccine to Protect Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases

February 21, 2017

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has launched a Phase 1 clinical trial to test an investigational vaccine intended to provide broad protection against a range of mosquito-transmitted diseases, such as Zika, malaria, West Nile fever and dengue fever, and to hinder the ability of mosquitoes to transmit such infections. The study, which is being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, will examine the experimental vaccine’s safety and ability to generate an immune response. 

April 2016

World Malaria Day 2016

April 25, 2016

On World Malaria Day 2016, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes the considerable gains that have been made in reducing the global burden of malaria and renews our commitment to conducting and supporting the cutting-edge scientific research needed to end the scourge of this devastating mosquito-borne disease.

February 2016

Tick Genome Reveals Secrets of a Successful Bloodsucker

February 09, 2016

With tenacity befitting their subject, an international team of nearly 100 researchers toiled for a decade and overcame tough technical challenges to decipher the genome of the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis).