DVBD Stories

These stories illustrate the work CDC is doing to advance public health across the United States and around the globe. CDC experts work with states, territories, and other partners to detect and respond to outbreaks, train professionals, provide technical assistance, and strengthen health systems that prevent and control vector-borne diseases.

Spotlight: Zika virus

Zika virus, virtually unheard of before 2015, has been causing outbreaks in the United States, several territories, and many countries. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Though it is primarily spread through infected mosquitoes, people can also get Zika through sex with an infected partner.

CDC, including DVBD staff, have led the US response to Zika, contributing to laboratory diagnosis, increased surveillance, mosquito control efforts, prevention, and education.

Spotlight: Plague

A universally feared disease for centuries, plague caused millions of deaths and at least three major pandemics around the world. Outbreaks represented disaster for people living in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Until the cause of plague was known, plague outbreaks contributed to massive panic in cities and countries where it appeared.

We now know that the bacterium Yersinia pestis causes plague and often infects small rodents (like rats, mice, and squirrels). Plague is usually spread to people through the bite of an infected flea. Small, local plague outbreaks still occur in the southwestern United States, and it is a significant health threat in parts of Africa and Asia. DVBD works with public health officials in Uganda to improve diagnosis, treatment, and prevention—learning lessons that could help us respond to natural and bioterrorist uses of plague.

CDC features

Outbreak response

International work

Innovative technologies

Advanced molecular detection in action

CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) program is transforming disease detection and response. Through technological innovation, CDC continually advances safeguards for America’s health. DVBD uses AMD methods to discover new pathogens, develop new diagnostic methods, identifying emerging threats, and much more.