About the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases
The Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD) strives to protect the nation from bacterial and viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. Some of these diseases have long been present in the United States while others have recently emerged. These include some of the world's most destructive diseases, many of which are increasing threats to human health as the environment changes and globalization increases. CDC/DVBD plays a unique role, housing much of the world’s expertise in the diagnosis, prevention and control of these diseases.
Chikungunya Hits U.S. Mainland
The first locally acquired cases of chikungunya were reported in Florida on July 17, 2014. These cases represent the first time that mosquitoes in the continental United States are thought to have spread the virus to non-travelers. Though CDC does not expect widespread cases this year, Americans infected when traveling to the Caribbean, South America, or the Pacific Islands may continue to return and bring the virus with them. For updates on locally acquired and travel associated chikungunya cases, visit CDC’s chikungunya website.
Chikungunya is a viral disease spread to people by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.
Vector-Borne Diseases - At a Glance
Dengue: Globally, 40% of the world’s population lives in an area with dengue virus transmission and an estimated 400 million dengue virus infections occur annually. Until a safe and effective dengue vaccine or antiviral is available, improved clinical management of patients with severe dengue is the best way to reduce case fatality rates to less than 1%. In 2014, CDC launched a free online dengue clinical case management course for healthcare professionals to provide them with information to recognize dengue cases early in the clinical course, assess patients appropriately, and provide timely treatment.
Lyme and other tick-borne diseases: Tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are serious public health problems, infecting tens of thousands in the U.S. each year. CDC is working closely with local communities, developing innovative control approaches and researching improved diagnostics.
West Nile and other mosquito-borne viruses: The summer of 2012 was the second-largest outbreak of West Nile virus disease since it first appeared in New York during the summer of 1999. West Nile virus (WNV) has established itself as a seasonal epidemic in N. America, flaring up during the summer until the first frost.
CDC leads ArboNET, an electronic surveillance system that monitors mosquito-borne infections in humans, mosquitoes, birds, and other animals. This information allows CDC and states to quickly respond, preventing further cases.
Innovation: DVBD scientists have developed innovative candidate vaccines against dengue and West Nile viruses, including a CDC-developed tetravalent. We are collaborating with industry to bring to market novel insecticides derived from natural products, and are developing new tools to reduce ticks and mosquitoes that spread disease.
Responding to new and old threats: DVBD scientists are working to reduce the impact of plague, an ancient disease, in the U.S. and in Uganda. On the other hand, in 2009, a new tick-borne disease called Heartland virus was discovered in Missouri. It is not yet known how people become infected with this newly discovered virus or how widespread the virus is throughout the U.S.. However, recent studies suggest that Lone Star ticks may transmit the virus. Since March 2014, eight cases of Heartland virus disease have been identified among residents of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
What We Do, Where We Do It, and Why: Color Brochure
Vector-borne diseases are among the most complex of all infectious diseases to prevent and control. DVBD combines specialized epidemiology, ecology and laboratory expertise to respond to the challenges presented by vector-borne infectious diseases.
Read our two-page brochure about what we do, where we do it, and why. [PDF - 2 pages]
Springtime Means Time to Prevent Lyme Disease
Stay Safe in the Woods or Your Backyard
West Nile Virus
Who Cares about Mosquito Bites? We Do
Prevent Mosquito Bites
Spring and Summer Outdoor Safety
Beware of Bugs
DEET, Showers, and Tick Checks Can Stop Ticks
Crab Hole Mosquito Blues - The Song
This podcast is a song about a major epizoodemic of a serious human and equine disease written and performed by the MARU Health Angels Band.
Prevent Lyme Disease/Spring and Summer PSA
This 30-second PSA explains how to prevent and recognize early symptoms of Lyme disease.
Get Ticks Off
(A Cup of Health with CDC)
People planning outdoor activities this summer should be on the look out for ticks. Ticks carry diseases such as Tularemia and Lyme disease.