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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