Vector-borne diseases—diseases transmitted by animals like mosquitoes, sand flies or ticks—are among the most pressing threats to the medical readiness of Service Members and have a significant, detrimental impact to global health. The Department of Entomology researches all aspects of these diseases, including how they are transmitted, where they are found and how to prevent them. Entomology also conducts epidemiologic studies on various rodent-borne diseases.
The department is divided into five sections covering the breadth of vector biology and arthropod-borne disease research. The sections represent three research and two research support programs:
- Vector Biology and Control
- Malaria Research
- Diagnostic and Reemerging Diseases Research
- Mites and Rodents
The Department of Entomology maintains a variety of in-house arthropod vector colonies including:
- These include 11 lines of infected and uninfected Leptotrombidium mites for scrub typhus research
- Seven lines of Anopheline mosquitoes for malaria research
- Two species of Aedes mosquitoes for flavivirus research
- One species of Toxorhynchites mosquitoes for viral transmission studies.
Mosquito colonies are also used to evaluate resistance to insecticides and test repellents. The Entomology Department is the only DOD laboratory capable of producing all four species of malaria parasite that infect humans as well as numerous species of malaria that infect animals in support of vaccine challenge studies, drug-testing in animal models and research on anti-liver stage drugs. The department also has the only DOD colony of Orientia tsutsugamushi-infected chiggers mites.
Entomology conducts all aspects of medically important arthropod and rodent research, primarily in Thailand, providing pathogen surveillance and vector identification support to U.S. military in the Indopacific region, primarily to U.S. Forces Korea.