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.
Yellow Fever and Travel
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.
What is Bourbon Virus?
a newly discovered thogotovirus
In 2014, CDC discovered a new virus in a sample from a previously healthy man from eastern Kansas. He became unwell with fever and other symptoms in the late spring. Bourbon virus, named after the county in Kansas where this man lived, is part of a group of viruses (thogotoviruses) known to be spread through ticks and other vectors.
CDC scientist will be working with state partners to understand more about this novel virus. Studies are planned and ongoing to determine who gets infected, how they are infected, where this virus is located, and how this virus is making people sick.
Vector-Borne Diseases - At a Glance
Dengue: Globally, dengue is most common arboviral disease, with 40% of the world’s population living in areas with dengue virus transmission. Of the estimated 390 million infections and 100 million cases annually, a small proportion of these cases progress to severe dengue. Roughly 1 in 2,000 dengue cases result in death. However, the case-fatality rate of patients with severe dengue can be reduced from ~10% to <0.1% by the timing and quality of clinical care that patients receive.
CDC offers an online case management course to aid physicians in identifying dengue patients when they first seek care. This free clinical course features information to enable healthcare professionals to recognize dengue cases early in their clinical course, assess patients appropriately, and provide prompt, supportive care.
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: West Nile virus (WNV) is the most important of several mosquito transmitted viruses (arboviruses) now native to the U.S. A major part of CDC’s ongoing work is disease tracking, laboratory studies, education, and technical assistance and response. CDC also deals with the increasing problem of travel-associated infections and the threat of exotic arbovirus importation.
WNV is a seasonal epidemic in North America, flaring up during the summer until the first frost. CDC developed and leads ArboNET, the national surveillance system that monitors mosquito-borne infections in humans, mosquitoes, birds, and other animals. This information allows CDC and its partners in local and state health departments, other government agencies, and private industry to prepare for and quickly respond to epidemics. Early detection and intervention is critical for making decisions about the need for insecticide spraying and other community intervention measures that protect people’s health.
Innovation: CDC scientists develop, test, and deploy innovative disease prevention techniques and work to improve diagnostic testing for vector-borne diseases. Some examples include:
- Discovery of a novel, highly efficacious botanical pesticide for controlling Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases; one of the few novel pesticides discovered in the last fifty years.
- Development of candidate vaccines against dengue and West Nile viruses
- Development of a robust, accurate ‘dipstick’ for diagnosing plague at bedside in Africa.
- Implementation of an innovative, multifaceted community-based strategy to prevent deaths from Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a frequently deadly, tick-transmitted bacterium, in Arizona.
Responding to new and old threats: DVBD scientists have helped to discover several novel tick-borne diseases in the U.S. In 2012, a new, sometimes fatal tick-borne disease, Heartland virus, was discovered in Missouri. Recent studies indicate that Lone Star ticks transmit the virus over a large part of the middle of the country, including Missouri, Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee. They also helped identify for the first time in the U.S. a new bacteria, Borrelia miyamotoi, which is related to Lyme, disease in Minnesota.
For Health Departments and Universities
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.
- Page last reviewed: April 1, 2011
- Page last updated: March 20, 2018
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