About the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases

History of DVBD
historic photo of members of U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare

In the 1940s, field station laboratories located in Cache Valley, Utah and Greeley, Colorado conducted surveillance, research, and prevention of mosquito-borne diseases that cause swelling of the brain (encephalitis). In 1967, the laboratories consolidated on the Colorado State University (CSU) campus in Fort Collins, Colorado to enhance collaboration between CSU and CDC scientists.

In the 1960s, a CDC branch dedicated to plague moved from San Francisco, California to Fort Collins when the majority of plague cases were occurring in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. In 1989, Lyme disease was moved to the division. Today, the Fort Collins site is the only major CDC infectious disease laboratory outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The division’s global reference collection contains pathogens dating back 100 years.

The Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVDB) is part of CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID). DVBD has four branches:

  • Arboviral Diseases Branch: Focuses on viruses spread by mosquitoes and ticks. This branch is responsible for viruses like chikungunya, West Nile, yellow fever, and Zika. This branch also serves as the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Arthropod-Borne Viruses Reference and Research.
  • Bacterial Diseases Branch: Focuses on bacteria spread by ticks and fleas. This branch is responsible for bacteria like Lyme disease, plague, and tularemia. This branch also serves as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Bacterial Vector-Borne Diseases.
  • Dengue Branch: Focuses on the four dengue viruses spread by mosquitoes.
  • Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch: Focuses on a special category of bacteria primarily spread by ticks, lice, and fleas. This branch is responsible for bacteria like Q fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and typhus fevers.

DVBD’s vision, mission, and goals

  • Vision: To create a future where vector-borne diseases no longer threaten public health
  • Mission: Reduce illness and death from vector-borne diseases
  • Goals:
    • Identify and detect vector-borne pathogens that cause diseases in people
    • Understand when, where, how often, and how people are exposed to vector-borne pathogens
    • Prevent exposure to vector-borne pathogens and mitigate consequences of infection
    • Implement vector-borne disease diagnostics, surveillance, control, and prevention programs

Learn how DVBD is preparing the nation for vector-borne diseases.

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