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Success Stories

Nootkatone for Insecticide and Repellent Development

Photo depicts a woman’s leg being sprayed with mosquito repellent.

CDC’s NCEZID and TTO staff have transferred technology that employs a naturally derived substance for controlling arthropod (e.g., mosquito, tick, and flea) pest populations. The active ingredient, nootkatone, is found in Alaska yellow cedar trees (also known as the Nootka cypress), some herbs, and citrus fruits. CDC biologists have found nootkatone to be an effective repellent and insecticide for use against ticks (i.e., the blacklegged tick) and other insects, including Aedes mosquitoes that spread Zika and other viruses. Nootkatone appears to work differently compared to currently available insecticides and may be a valuable new option for fighting the growing problem of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes. It can be used on skin and lawns. To expand available insect repellent options, nootkatone could be formulated to be used in soaps, sprays, and lotions.

CDC photo, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases.

CDC-developed Mosquito Trap for Mosquito Control and Surveillance

The photo shows an AGO mosquito trap placed in a neighborhood in Puerto Rico.

Mosquitoes are responsible for spreading many viruses that can make people sick, including dengue, Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever, and more. CDC’s Autocidal Gravid Ovitrap (AGO) mosquito trap has been successfully used for mosquito surveillance and control. The inexpensive, non-toxic AGO attracts and catches female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes looking for a place to lay eggs. Field trials in which the AGO trap has been installed in most homes in a community have shown it reduces mosquito populations AND transmission rates of infections. AGO traps have been distributed by the CDC to many areas in Puerto Rico, including 90,000 traps distributed in Caguas in early 2017. A partner is now producing the trap for the general public and it’s currently available on the commercial market.

CDC seeks additional commercial partners, both foreign and domestic, with the goal of distributing the AGO trap to as many people and communities as possible worldwide. In addition to scientific publications, the AGO traps have been featured in a number of news articles, including USA Today, the Miami Herald and NBC News.

CDC Photo, CDC NCEZID Puerto Rico laboratory.

Rapid Detection of Black Mold

A type of black mold, Aspergillus niger, is commonly found in homes. There is always some mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. Mold has been on the Earth for millions of years. Molds grow where there is moisture and they can flourish in damp, warm, and humid environments. Some people are sensitive to molds and can be prone to infections or allergic reactions depending upon their immune status.

A Diagnostic Test to Detect Different Vaginal Yeast Infection Types

Christine J. Morrison, PhD, holds a great number of patents in CDC’s portfolio. In the photo, Dr. Morrison (with technician, Steve Hurst, in the background) is analyzing some of her laboratory data related to molecular probe diagnostics.

Vulvovaginal candidiasis, also known as a vaginal yeast infection, is a common condition of women worldwide, with over 70% of women experiencing an infection once in their lifetime. While most candidiasis patients are infected with Candida albicans, the number of non-C. albicans infections have grown steadily in recent years. Importantly, yeast infections caused by non-albicans species are resistant to azole drugs typically prescribed for C. albicans infections, resulting in reoccurrence of non-albicans infections.

In a video , CDC inventor Dr. Christine Morrison discusses Candida infection diagnostics and commercialization efforts which received a 2016 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Excellence in Technology Transfer award.

CDC’s Kevin Brand discusses the process of licensing the Candida infection diagnostic technology as part of the 2016 FLC Excellence in Technology Transfer award.

CDC’s Dr. Christine Morrison shares brief insights for inventors on the benefits of reporting new discoveries.

Identification of a Novel Influenza Strain that Causes Kennel Cough

An image of two dogs in a kennel “Kennel cough” or infectious tracheobronchitis (ITB) is an acute, contagious respiratory infection in dogs characterized mainly by coughing. Canine ITB is considered one of the most prevalent infectious respiratory diseases in dogs worldwide. Outbreaks can reach epidemic proportions when dogs are housed in high-density population environments such as kennels. Canine ITB can be triggered by a variety of pathogens, including canine influenza virus.

Tackling the H1N1 Flu Pandemic Through the Rapid Detection of the Novel H1N1 Virus

An image of a negative stained electron micrograph of the H1N1, swine flu virus. H1N1 influenza emerged in the US in 2009. Within a year, it caused a worldwide pandemic that resulted in an estimated 60.8 million cases, 274,304 hospitalizations, and 12,469 deaths in the US alone. Global estimates of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic indicated that 151,700 – 575,400 people died, with the majority of deaths occurring in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Combatting the dangers of heavy metal contamination: the CDC can lead the way!

This 1999 photograph shows a worker using flames from a torch to assist in the removal of paint, demonstrating an exterior renovation method typically used on residences where lead-based paint was present. This method was found to contaminate nearby areas with lead. Exposure to lead and other heavy metals remains a public health concern in environments where individuals can be exposed to such metals. Various venues present the danger of skin contamination, including the battlefield, outdoor hunting activities, and exposure from work in industrial settings. The cumulative effects of skin exposure to lead and other heavy metals can lead to organ and renal failure, and adversely impact blood pressure and brain activity.

Collaborative Efforts Yield Improved Rotavirus Vaccine

An image of a color electron micrograph depicting rotavirus, double-shelled particles. Rotavirus is a common diarrhea-causing pathogen in children. Prior to rotavirus vaccination availability, rotavirus caused an average of 611,000 deaths per year globally and millions of hospitalizations. Virtually all children were infected by rotavirus by age 5. Rotavirus continues to cause severe diarrhea in infants and young children in the U.S. and globally. The majority of children that have access to adequate medical care survive infection with no significant long-term consequences. However, the number of deaths associated with severe diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and shock is staggering and preventive intervention is required.

Development of Syphilis Screen & Confirm Assay

An image of Treponema pallidum, the causative agent of syphilis. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that remains a global health threat. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 10.6 million new cases of syphilis infections are reported annually worldwide. Previously, the only commercially available serological test for syphilis determined lifetime exposure to Treponema pallidum, the bacterium that causes syphilis. This test was not able to distinguish between an active syphilis infection from lifetime exposure to the bacteria.

  • Page last reviewed: October 11, 2017
  • Page last updated: February 1, 2017
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Science
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