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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary 3 Integrating Strategies to Address Vector-Borne Disease OVERVIEW Vector-borne diseases, among the general class of emerging infectious diseases, entail a host of needs and opportunities that have been characterized in numerous reviews and reports. A core report of the Institute of Medicine, Microbial Threats to Health (2003), recommended several actions related to the prediction, prevention, and control of vector-borne diseases; these are reviewed in this chapter’s first paper by presenter Barry Beaty (a member of the Institute of Medicine committee that produced the Microbial Threats to Health report) and Lars Eisen of Colorado State University. In an additional contribution in Chapter 1, these authors describe how researchers and public health policy makers have responded to specific recommendations, including efforts by the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) to develop new pesticides and formulations, as well as novel tools and management approaches, in order to advance vector control in and around the house. In the chapter’s second and third papers, Roger Nasci of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Sherrilyn Wainwright, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), offer their perspectives on issues discussed by the workshop panel on integrating strategies for vector-borne disease surveillance, diagnosis, and response. Topics included the need for, and challenges of, creating multidisciplinary teams to study and respond to vector-borne disease outbreaks; opportunities to integrate the surveillance and diagnosis of vector-borne disease with outbreak response; funding opportunities; research directions; and the training of vector biologists.
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary Based on his experience at CDC, Nasci notes both the successes and challenges of training and fielding multidisciplinary teams for outbreak response and to conduct basic research. Using the ArboNET surveillance network as an example (see also Petersen in Chapter 2), he also explores the creation and expansion of integrated information systems to monitor disease transmission and risk factors and argues for the development of comprehensive, testable predictive models based on input from a diversity of scientific fields. APHIS also uses multidisciplinary teams to monitor and detect infectious disease outbreaks in animals and plants, often in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Fish and Wildlife Services, state agencies, affected industries, and diagnostic laboratories. Wainwright notes that these efforts, while largely successful, have on occasion “exposed weaknesses in communication and coordination between human public health and animal health agencies.” Through the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), APHIS is involved in a number of studies of vector-borne disease, many of which are being addressed through a “multidisciplinary systems approach,” involving other government agencies. The subsequent paper by panelist David Morens of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases (NIAID) identifies several overarching scientific and logistical obstacles presented by vector-borne disease and compares them with challenges faced by the founders of tropical medicine. “The question of how to foster generalist training and team approaches to problem-solving, in which team members cross disciplinary lines regarded as being remote from each other … is no more impossible than the challenges faced and met successfully in the first 50 years of the 20th century, in which science and public health worked to produce a yellow fever vaccine [and] discovered and developed effective treatments for many vector-borne diseases,” he observes. In order to begin to meet today’s challenges, Morens explains, scientific and political leaders must recognize the complex problems posed by vector-borne diseases, and a cadre of multidisciplinary scientists and public health workers must be trained to address these problems in innovative and integrative ways. Workshop panelist Adriana Costero, vector biology program officer for NIAID’s Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, describes the variety of funding mechanisms and projects supported by that agency in her contribution to this chapter. These include grants for basic studies and the initial phases of translational research, training grants, and career awards. As noted in the Summary and Assessment (see section entitled “Needs and Opportunities”), response to the workshop panel presentations was both deep and wide-ranging. In his manuscript, included in Chapter 1 of this volume, Durland Fish offers a vision of “a new interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of vector-borne diseases” firmly grounded in ecology—a discipline historically central to the control of vector-borne diseases, but now at considerable remove from the biomedical sciences. He argues that the shift in studies of vector biology away from ecology and toward molecular biology, which began in the 1970s,
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary has produced “reductionistic and narrowly focused research agendas [that] have contributed very little to a broader understanding of interactions between vectors and their physical or biological environment.” There is a need to create a balanced, integrated, basic and applied research agenda to address the challenges and opportunites associated with vector-borne disease control efforts. Fish advocates a repositioning of the field of vector biology as a collaboration of environmental sciences and infectious disease epidemiology, supported by technologies such as remote sensing and geographic information systems. Among infectious diseases, Fish concludes, “vector-borne diseases have the greatest potential for advancing the integration of ecology and environmental science into the mainstream of infectious disease epidemiology.” NEEDS AND OPPORTUNITIES TO CONTROL VECTOR-BORNE DISEASES: RESPONSES TO THE IOM MICROBIAL THREATS TO HEALTH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS Barry J. Beaty, Ph.D.1 Colorado State University Lars Eisen, Ph.D.1 Colorado State University Summary Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) remain major threats to human health and well-being, and, as an epidemiological group, inflict a terrible and unacceptable public health burden on humankind. The developed world has been fortunate to have escaped much of the terrible burden that mosquitoes and their arthropod allies inflict on humans in countries endemic for diseases such as malaria and dengue, but the introduction and rapid spread of West Nile virus in the western hemisphere demonstrated that we can no longer be complacent in the face of emerging and resurging VBDs. Unfortunately as the burdens and threats of VBDs have increased, the U.S. and international public health capacity to address them has decreased. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report entitled Microbial Threats to Health (IOM, 2003) reviewed and identified factors leading to the resurgence and emergence of infectious diseases, including VBDs, and made recommendations to address the needs and opportunities for the prediction, prevention, and control of infectious diseases. The factors contributing to resurgence and emergence of 1 Arthropod-borne and Infectious Diseases Laboratory, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary VBDs and the recommendations made to address these issues will be reviewed here. Much of the information is excerpted directly from the Committee on Emerging Microbial Threats to Health in the 21st Century’s 2003 report. This provides a context for the issues, needs, and opportunities in addressing the emergence and resurgence of VBDs—topics that are directly relevant to many of the chapters in this current report. Despite the seemingly intractable nature of many VBDs, significant progress and new initiatives are underway to address their prediction, prevention, and control. New computer-based tools, novel approaches, and new knowledge being provided in the vector post-genomics era all provide new opportunities and targets for vector control and disease prevention. Rebuilding the human resource capacity to exploit the new tools and information to address VBDs remains a critical need to address. The Extraordinary Burden of Vector-Borne Diseases Resurgence and Emergence of Vector-Borne Diseases In the 20th century, extraordinary advances were made in the diagnosis, treatment, and control of many infectious diseases. These successes were not uniform, and, unfortunately, the medical, veterinary, and economic importance of many VBDs has continued and indeed increased. VBDs have proven to be unusually refractory to control or eradication programs. When considered as an epidemiological group, VBDs, such as malaria, leishmaniasis, filariasis, onchocerciasis, trypanosomiasis, dengue, West Nile virus (WNV) disease, Lyme disease, and other vector-borne viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases, put billions of people at risk for infection, infect hundreds of millions of humans annually, and cause millions of deaths and inestimable morbidity each year. Malaria and dengue are most important in this regard. Approximately 40 percent of humankind is at risk for malaria; up to 500 million cases occur annually with 2.7 million deaths. More than 2.5 billion people are at risk for dengue virus infection, and 100 million cases are estimated to occur annually. Ominously, the incidence of life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS) has increased rapidly throughout the tropics over the past 20 years. The burdens imposed by VBDs can be impediments to social and economic development in the areas of the world least able to afford them. Indeed, VBDs account for 7 of 10 neglected infectious diseases that are considered to disproportionally affect poor and marginalized populations and therefore have been targeted by the World Health Organization (WHO) Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) for special control programs.2 It is very frustrating that a number of VBDs were controlled to a certain 2 See http://www.who.int/tdr/index.html.
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary extent in some regions but are now resurgent in these areas. For example, malaria was virtually eradicated from Sri Lanka by the mid-1960s; only 17 cases were recorded in 1963. Over 2 million cases now occur there annually. In India, 50,000 cases were reported in 1961; 35 million are now reported there annually (Gratz, 1999). Epidemic dengue fever and DHF-DSS have emerged as major public health problems in the Americas mirroring what happened in Southeast Asia several decades ago (Beaty, 2000; Gubler, 2002a,b). Other VBDs have emerged in or trafficked to new or previously endemic areas (e.g., Lyme disease, plague, Japanese encephalitis, WNV disease, and Rift Valley fever), resulting in significant morbidity and mortality. Lyme disease is now the most reported VBD of humans in the United States, followed by WNV disease (Gubler, 2002b).3 The recent resurgence of chikungunya in many parts of the world, including a local outbreak in Italy, is testimony to the ongoing emergence potential of VBDs (Charrel et al., 2007). Agricultural and Economic Impact of Vector-Borne Diseases VBDs also cause significant economic impact in agriculture. Many of the List A diseases of the Office des International Epizooties (OIE), for example, bluetongue and vesicular stomatitis, are VBDs. Worldwide economic losses due to bluetongue are estimated at $3 billion per year, principally due to non-tariff barriers to international trade. Vesicular stomatitis virus epizootics in the western United States in 1995 and 1997 resulted in losses of approximately $50 million. International trade agreements (e.g., General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade [GATT] and North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]) and globalization provide opportunities as well as threats for agriculture. The importation of vectors and pathogens would seem to be the inevitable result of increased movement of animals and products, and increased trade in general (USAHA, 1998). Vector-Borne Diseases and Biodefense Finally, many VBDs (e.g., plague, tularemia, certain equine encephalitis, and VB hemorrhagic fevers) are potential bioterroism agents and some have been weaponized. A natural (or purposeful) introduction of a bioterrorism agent, such as Rift Valley fever virus, would have enormous agricultural and public health consequences (LaBeaud et al., 2007). The emergence of WNV in New York in 1999 and its subsequent spread across the country (Lanciotti et al., 1999; Hayes et al., 2005) clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of the United States to emerging diseases, whether resulting from natural or purposeful events. Such dramatic emergences, the resurgence of diseases such as malaria and dengue, and the failure to control Lyme disease, even with the economic resources available to 3 See http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid.
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary the United States and northern Europe, highlight the deficits in human resources and infrastructure needed to address VBDs, and the critical needs to augment the armamentarium of tools and approaches to predict, prevent, and control VBDs. Factors Contributing to the Resurgence and Emergence of Vector-Borne Diseases The IOM report entitled Microbial Threats to Health (2003) listed a number of factors that have contributed to and exacerbated the emergence of infectious diseases (Table 3-1). In the “convergence” model used in the report, these factors were then placed into larger groupings—Physical Environmental Factors, Social, Political, and Economic Factors, Ecological Factors, Genetic and Biological Factors—all of which converged with the microbe and human to condition emergence of diseases (IOM, 2003). The emergence of VBDs is clearly conditioned by many if not all of these factors, which have been reviewed elsewhere (Gratz, 1999; Beaty, 2000; Gubler, 2002b). In this paper, the focus will be on selected factors that are particularly relevant to the emergence of VBDs (Table 3-2). Brief examples will be discussed to provide insight into the needs, difficulties, and complexities of controlling VBDs. The lack of vaccines and therapeutics for many tropical and orphan diseases, and the economic and public health issues that are associated with the development and deployment of vaccines and therapeutics are described in detail in Microbial Threats to Health (IOM, 2003). This issue will not be discussed further here except to say that enhanced vector control will complement and enhance vaccine deployment for disease control (see paper by Scott in Chapter 2). Clearly, many of the factors listed in Table 3-2 condition the emergence of all TABLE 3-1 Factors in Emergence of Infectious Diseases Microbial adaptation and change Human susceptibility to infection Climate and weather Changing ecosystems Economic development and land use Human demographics and behavior Technology and industry International travel and commerce Breakdown of public health measures Poverty and social inequality War and famine Lack of political will Intent to harm SOURCE: IOM (2003), pp. 4-7.
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary TABLE 3-2 Factors Conditioning the Resurgence and Emergence of Vector-Borne Diseases Population growth and unplanned urbanization Poverty, social inequalities, and the emergence of the throw-away society Globalization and trafficking of humans, pathogens, vectors, and genes Erosion of public health infrastructure, including human resource capacity in medical entomology and vector biology Lack of new targets and approaches to control vectors and VBDs Loss of pesticides for real and perceived environmental issues, development of pesticide resistance in vectors, and economic disincentives to new pesticide and formulation development Lack of robust models and information systems to predict, prevent, and control VBDs SOURCE: Adapted from IOM (2003). infectious diseases, not just VBDs. There is little recourse for Microbial Threats to Health Committee recommendations to address major factors such as population growth, poverty, unplanned urbanization, and social inequalities. Other behavioral factors such as the throw-away society and the dramatic increases in human, vector, and pathogen trafficking in this era of globalization complicate greatly the control of VBDs. Nonetheless, each of these is a major driver for the resurgence of VBDs and will be briefly discussed herein to illustrate the problems involved with controlling these important diseases. Explosive population growth is a major determinant of the emergence and resurgence of VBDs. Dramatic increases in urbanization are frequently associated with little or no civic planning, and sanitation may be limited or nonexistent (Gratz, 1999; Gubler, 2002a; IOM, 2003). The lack of wastewater and refuse removal provides plentiful breeding sites for mosquitoes. Many newly urbanized areas do not have piped water, and stored water provides plentiful breeding sites for Aedes and Culex vectors. Even when piped water is available, it may be so only sporadically or unreliably. Thus, residents still store water, and paradoxically there may be more water, breeding sites, and mosquitoes than before piped water was available. Population growth and other socioeconomic factors also frequently result in humans migrating into undeveloped areas. There they impinge upon sylvatic or jungle cycles of VBDs and/or perturb the natural environment, making it more conducive to vectors and to pathogen transmission, potentially leading to the emergence of new diseases (Monath, 2001). Poverty, social inequalities, and behavioral issues not only condition emergence of VBDs but also exacerbate their prevention and control. There are too many of these factors to enumerate; only a few will be discussed to provide insights into the problems. Clearly, the most important VBDs in tropical regions are diseases of poor people. One recent epidemiological and entomological
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary investigation of dengue in “sister” cities in Mexico and Texas illustrates this very well (Reiter et al., 2003). In the U.S. city, Ae. aegypti immatures were relatively abundant in the peridomestic environment, but there was very little dengue. In contrast, the Mexican city was characterized by lower abundances of Ae. aegypti immatures but higher numbers of dengue cases. The investigators attributed this to numerous factors, one of the most important being the quality of housing (window screens and air conditioners were common in the U.S. city). Poverty is directly linked to the dramatic growth in human populations, unplanned urbanization, and movement of humans, all of which can condition VBDs (Gubler, 2002b; IOM, 2003). Globalization and rapid dissemination of pathogens and vectors has contributed greatly to the resurgence and emergence of VBDs. The global economy, which is predicated upon commerce and rapid and efficient transport of goods and people, provides unprecedented capability for emergence and rapid dissemination of pathogens and their vectors throughout the world (IOM, 2003). The recent emergence of WNV in the New World (Roehrig et al., 2002) is testimony to the ability of VBDs to traffic rapidly into new areas. The many reports of airport and railroad malaria also illustrate the continual trafficking of pathogens (Lounibos, 2002). Fortunately, in most cases the components necessary for establishment of a transmission cycle are not present, and the pathogen does not become established. Obviously, when WNV was introduced into New York, all of the necessary ingredients for establishment and spread were present, and it will be many years before the epidemiologic consequences of this emergence in the New World are determined (Roehrig et al., 2002; Hayes et al., 2005). Vectors themselves can also traffic to and become established in new areas. One of the most notable examples was the dissemination of Ae. aegypti throughout the world (Tabachnick et al., 1985). The ancestral form of Ae. aegypti is found in central Africa and is a sylvatic mosquito. After domestication and adaptation to humans and human environments, Ae. aegypti apparently disseminated to coastal areas of Africa, and was then transported throughout the world in sailing ships. Presumably both Ae. aegypti and yellow fever virus (YFV) were introduced into the New World on slave ships. Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, and Ae. japonicus presumably entered the United States via shipping (Moore, 1999; Fonseca et al., 2001). Aedes spp. eggs can easily be transported in tires, containers, and so on to new areas and hatch upon exposure to water in new settings. Adult mosquitoes can be spread much more quickly throughout the world in airplanes (Lounibos, 2002). Indeed, mosquitoes have become the ultimate frequent fliers, spreading themselves and their genes and perhaps pathogens throughout the world. Such transport has been postulated as the mechanism for the rapid dissemination of an esterase mutation conferring pesticide resistance to organophosphates through Culex pipiens populations throughout the world (Raymond et al., 1998). Unfortunately, U.S. public health programs to disinfect aircraft were
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary disbanded as a cost-saving measure in the 1960s; such a program could conceivably have prevented the introduction of WNV into the western hemisphere. Human behavioral changes and societal trends can also potentially exacerbate VBDs. Certainly, the advent of the “throw-away society” has had major implications in terms of breeding sites for vector mosquitoes. Even in the poorest of societies, breeding sites are now ubiquitous because of the proliferation of bottles, cans, old tires, and so on in the environment, which then provide a plethora of breeding sites for container-breeding mosquitoes and which dramatically complicate source reduction and larviciding control programs (IOM, 2003). The Committee on Emerging Microbial Threats to Health in the 21st Century Recommendations to Address Vector-Borne Diseases The Committee report proposed a number of actions to national agencies to address major needs in emerging diseases (IOM, 2003), many of which were directly applicable to VBDs. The Committee recommended that (1) the human resource capacity in medical entomology, vector biology, and zoonoses (from academia to public health practitioner) be rebuilt, expanded, and sustained; (2) the armamentarium for vector control be enhanced and expanded, by developing (a) new and improved environmentally sound pesticides, (b) novel strategies to prolong the use of existing pesticides by mitigating the evolution of resistance, (c) new biopesticides and biocontrol agents to augment chemical pesticides, (d) safe, efficacious repellants and attractants, and (e) by investigating novel strategies to interrupt vector-borne pathogen transmission to humans; and (3) that appropriate federal and state agencies expand their efforts to exploit geographic information systems (GIS) and robust models to predict and prevent VBDs. Human Resource Capacity The Recommendation: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Defense (DoD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) should work with academia, private organizations, and foundations to support efforts at rebuilding the human resource capacity at both academic centers and public health agencies in the relevant sciences—such as medical entomology, vector and reservoir biology and ecology, and zoonoses—necessary to control vector-borne and zoonotic diseases. Background Erosion in the human resource capacity to address VBDs is linked to the erosion of overall public health infrastructure for VBDs. Surveillance and control programs for VBDs are expensive. These programs are especially vulnerable to reductions or elimination when budget shortfalls occur and when VBD activity is incorrectly perceived to be controlled. Both of these issues have led to decreased support for and deterioration of public health surveillance and control
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary capacity throughout the world. For example, the sporadic and epidemic nature of many VBDs resulted in the closure of state programs and in the demise of university training programs in medical entomology and vector biology (NRC, 1983). In the developing world, where resources are much more limited, the consequences of such reductions can be even more dramatic. For example, in the 1950s and 1960s the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and participating western hemisphere countries established a remarkably effective program to control Ae. aegypti to preclude the emergence of sylvatic YFV into urban populations (Gratz, 1999; Monath, 2001; Gubler, 2002a). Overall, the program was quite effective, but success led to demise of the programs, and the resources to support these efforts were shifted to other priorities. Now Ae. aegypti is resurgent and essentially hyperabundant throughout much of tropical and subtropical America. Concomitantly all four dengue virus serotypes including American/Asian genotypes are cocirculating in Latin America (Beaty, 2000; Gubler, 2002a). High mosquito abundance and intensive virus transmission have resulted in a state of dengue hyperendemnicity, resulting in the emergence of DHF-DSS as a major public health problem in the Americas. In addition, YFV has recently caused epidemics in South America and Africa (Monath, 2001; Gubler, 2002b). With Ae. aegypti resurgent in metropolitan areas in the Americas, it seems to be only a question of when urban yellow fever will reemerge or chikungunya (Charrel et al., 2007) will emerge in these areas with disastrous consequences. Concomitant with the erosion of VBD control infrastructure has been the dramatic decline in medical entomology/vector biology expertise. Indeed, it was difficult to identify local medical entomologists, vector biologists, and arbovirologists to respond to the WNV emergency in the initially affected states. There has been a reduction in the numbers of medical entomologists, vector biologists, and vector control personnel. This unfortunate trend and its public health implications were first described in a U.S. National Academy of Sciences report (NRC, 1983). The emergence of WNV and the paucity of human resources available to address that emergency were ample testimony to the prescience of the authors of that report. The critical needs in this area have also been addressed in other publications and books (e.g., Spielman, 1994). However, these reports did little to change attitudes in academic departments across the nation. Medical entomology positions were invariably lost when occupants retired or left and when entomology departments combined with plant pathology and related departments. Responses With the emergence of Lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, human monocytic erlichiosis, and WNV disease in the United States and the resurgence of VBDs throughout the world (Gratz, 1999; Gubler, 2002b), organizations such as the NIH, the World Health Organization Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO-TDR), and a number of foundations began to promote research in vector biology. With increased funding and program development opportunities, there has been an increase in the number
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary of scientists entering the field, many of whom are now assuming faculty positions in universities. Indeed, there has been a renaissance in vector biology, which is providing not only new knowledge and targets for vector control but also a new generation of vector biologists capable of applying modern molecular and quantitative approaches to control VBDs. Hopefully, as the scientific excitement in and public health importance of the field is recognized, and the opportunities for program development in vector biology increase, student demand will increase and previously lost positions will be regained in entomology departments. This will provide a renewed stream of students to replenish the depleted ranks of medical entomologists at all levels. Training Training of a new generation of vector biologists/medical entomologists capable of applying modern molecular and information technology approaches to prevent and control emerging and resurging VBDs is critical. A number of agencies, including WHO-TDR, PAHO, NIH, CDC, and private foundations, recognized this situation and initiated training programs for vector biologists and medical entomologists in the United States and other countries. Frequently, however, such programs only address urgent needs. For example, the emergence of WNV resulted in a major effort by CDC to train individuals in mosquito identification, arbovirology, and mosquito control. WHO provides workshops devoted to specific important issues concerning vectors and VBDs in disease-endemic areas. Such programs, however, typically do not provide personnel with in-depth training in molecular, biological, epidemiological, and information technology techniques or permit trainees to exploit these techniques effectively in real-world situations. Efficient training strategies are necessary to address the human resource needs in all areas of VBDs, from identification and processing of vectors to gene identification and characterization, and to development of GIS and other information technology-based approaches for control of vectors and VBDs. Web-based training programs, courses, and texts would seem to be a robust enough venue to address critical short-term needs. However, alternate approaches are necessary to provide quickly a new generation of VBD specialists and leaders. The Biology of Disease Vectors course was notable in this regard. This intensive 2-week course, which was supported by the MacArthur Foundation, WHO-TDR, and other agencies, was developed to catalyze the use of modern molecular and quantitative approaches into medical entomology and vector biology. The course also provided exceptional learning and networking opportunities for vector biologists. Many of the students emerged as leaders, trainers, and program initiators in their respective countries. Internationally recognized faculty provided invaluable networking and career opportunities. Similar courses should be offered to provide a new generation of leaders in critical and emerging disciplines. For example, the renaissance of vector biology/medical entomology at NIH and the new vector biology study section
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary FIGURE 3-1 Available funding mechanisms for research. These mechanisms involve a new investigator and a mentor/institution where the transition from student to independent investigator can be made, providing an invaluable experience for those transitioning into independent careers. Small business grants (SBIRs, STTRs) are also represented in the portfolio and represent short-term investments into technologies and devices that may develop into vector control strategies. This mechanism encourages small businesses to become involved in research on novel mechanisms to better control and/or prevent vector-borne diseases. The Vector Biology portfolio is well rounded in terms of the mechanisms represented and the type of research being supported, ranging from basic to translational. Figure 3-1 demonstrates different funding mechanisms available during these research phases. Numerous projects headed by U.S. investigators contain foreign components. Some DMID initiatives, such as the International Research in Infectious Diseases (IRID) Program, and the Tropical Medicine Research Centers (TMRCs) are designed for investigators in foreign institutions. This is very important to the program as many vector-borne diseases occur in tropical and subtropical areas of the world and not in the United States. Foreign investigators are encouraged to take advantage of these initiatives whenever possible to fund their research projects.
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Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections - Workshop Summary Challenges The Vector Biology Program at NIAID is vibrant and strong, with research on many aspects of the field and a wide variety of organisms. The Program uses a broad range of funding mechanisms that support new as well as more experienced investigators. The Program encourages interdisciplinary projects and collaboration among field- and lab-based investigators in order to help to elucidate the complex interactions among vectors, their hosts, the pathogens they transmit, and the ecological environment in which these interactions take place. Only by understanding these complex networks of interactions can we achieve sound, comprehensive, and sustainable vector management and disease prevention. The training and retention of new investigators must continue to be a priority; not only as part of the regular research mechanisms (R15, R01, etc.) but also through training grants such as the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSAs) (F32, F33), the Career Development Awards (K22), and the Institutional Research Training grants (T32). In addition, Conference Grants (R13) can help fund participation of students and new investigators in scientific meetings. Communication and collaboration among federal agencies involved in vector research will enable the resources of all agencies to be used more effectively in supporting the research community. Conclusion The vector biology field is at an exciting juncture. With great potential for novel vector management strategies underway and exciting cutting-edge research being performed, there is great promise ahead. Our challenge is to work together as a group, with open communication channels, to achieve the promise of the future to improve people’s health. REFERENCES Anischenko, M., R. A. Bowen, S. Paessler, L. Austgen, I. P. Greene, and S. C. Weaver. 2006. Venezuelan encephalitis emergence mediated by a phylogenetically predicted viral mutation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103(13):4994-4999. Attaran, A., D. R. Roberts, C. F. Curtis, and W. L. Kilama. 2000. Balancing risks on the backs of the poor. Nature Medicine 6(7):729-731. Ballinger-Crabtree, M. E., W. C. Black IV, and B. R. Miller. 1992. Use of genetic polymorphisms detected by the random-amplified polymorphic DNA polymerase chain reaction (RAPD-PCR) for differentiation and identification of Aedes aegypti subspecies and populations. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 47(6):893-901. Barillas-Mury, C. V., F. G. Noriega, and M. A. Wells. 1995. Early trypsin activity is part of the signal transduction system that activates transcription of the late trypsin gene in the midgut of the mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 25(2):241-246.
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