Arbovirus is an informal name used to refer to any viruses that are transmitted by arthropods, a phylum of animals including mosquitoes, ticks, mites and other insects. These viruses cause some of the most dangerous diseases to both public health and deployed Service Members including dengue, Zika, tick-borne encephalitis and others, causing millions of infections each year. AFRIMS works with regional partners to identify, characterize and overcome arboviruses by developing pharmacological and public health strategies. With a changing climate that makes more areas of the world more favorable to arthropods for more months of the year, arboviruses will continue to be a significant threat to force health protection. These activities include developing and testing novel vaccines, diagnostics and drugs to prevent and treat disease as well as insect control strategies to prevent virus-carrying mosquitoes from proliferating.

AFRIMS research locations have made significant contributions to the study of arboviruses. It maintains several sites across southeast Asia to study community transmission of vector-borne diseases like dengue, has conducted pivotal clinical trials which supported the development and sometimes licensure of vaccines against dengue and Japanese encephalitis and supports military exercises within the U.S. Indo-Pacific area of responsibility to equip medical providers to understand disease threats in theater. 


Chikungunya is an emerging disease spread by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes found across Africa, Asia and the Americas. Currently there are three genotypes of chikungunya virus: West African, East-Central-South African and Asian. Each genotype has contributed to outbreaks over time but in 2004, the ECSA and Asian genotypes began to expand significantly leading to increased cases worldwide. In acute disease, chikungunya infection can lead to high fever, profound joint pain and a rash similar to dengue virus. A key difference to dengue is the chronic, debilitating arthritis that can develop in up to 30-40% of cases and can lead to severe morbidity. It's global distribution, potentially severe consequences and lack of preventive vaccines make it a significant threat to deployed Service Members in endemic areas. 
Entomology | Virology


Infecting over 390 million individuals worldwide, dengue remains a persistent threat to deploying Service Members. As a mosquito-borne disease, spread by the same vector as chikungunya and Zika, increased global temperatures combined with continued urbanization and travel serve to increase the likelihood of exposure to dengue's four serotypes. Dengue is particularly dangerous, due to the potential for ADE and severe dengue (previously termed dengue shock syndrome or dengue hemorrhagic fever by the World Health Organization's 1997) which can be associated with mortality rates of 1% with proper care but up to 26% without. Current treatments address symptoms and disease management primarily focuses on prevention through vector control. However, vector control is increasingly complicated by insecticide-resistance in mosquitoes and the lack of a safe vaccine.
Entomology | Veterinary Medicine | Virology 


Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease found around the world. Spread by Aedes mosquitoes, it is frequently found in urban environments and is likely to spread as humans expand into more areas. Distinguishing it from other flaviviruses, Zika has a relatively high rate of asymptomatic infection, can be spread through blood or sexual contact and can be found in bodily fluids for weeks to months after initial infection. Currently there is no treatment for Zika and disease management is primarily focused on symptoms with particular care required for pregnant patients due to the risk of transmission to the baby and ensuing severe morbidities. As such, AFRIMS conducts surveillance and countermeasure development work to detect and combat Zika to maintain force health protection for both Service Members and their families when they return home from deployment to an endemic region. 
Entomology | Retrovirology | Veterinary Medicine | Virology