From University of Miami Special News Section: With no vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus, preventing transmission of the disease is a top public health priority.
This is a unified, flagship program from the State of Florida, led by the University of Florida, Florida International University, the University of Miami and the University of South Florida to establish a Regional Center of Excellence in Vector Borne Disease (VBD) in the Southeastern US, with the following objectives: (1) develop novel control interventions and discover insecticide-resistance-breaking compounds; (2) expand the level of inter-institute/inter-agency coordination and partnership in the exchange of research and operational information in the Southeast; (3) establish a compreh
Background | Models of arbovirus transmission are useful in estimating the burden of Dengue, forecasting areas of risk for the emergence of Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika in non-endemic areas, and in assessing the potential of control interventions. The utility of these models relies on their grounding in empirical data at multiple scales describing the disease transmission process. The aims are to (i) model the dynamics of viruses in their invertebrate and vertebrate hosts as well as the movement of these hosts viz.
Background | The geographic distribution and abundances of tick vectors, their acaricide resistance status and their associated pathogens are ever-changing. The overall aim of the project is two-fold: (i) Characterize the prevalence and distribution of selected tick-borne bacterial and viral pathogens via high-resolution spatial maps in Florida; and (ii) Understand the mechanisms and extent of acaricide resistance in two vectors of medical and veterinary importance: the brown dog tick and lone star tick.
Background | Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV) can over-winter in ectothermic hosts. The overall aim of this project is to predict at the focal level where over-wintering is occurring in Florida, and to leverage complementary mathematical models (Project 4) to develop early season intervention strategies to interrupt wintertime EEEV transmission. We hypothesize that such early season interventions will lessen or prevent outbreaks of EEEV later in the year, when mosquito densities are greater and the costs for intervention correspondingly higher.
"Mosquitoes obtain blood-meals from vertebrate hosts to enable egg production. Blood is not the only source of nourishment for mosquitoes. Both male and female mosquitoes seek nectar sources from plant hosts. Since males male do not bite, nectar is their principle energy source. Mosquitoes gain access to these nutrients by sensing volatile chemicals in their environment. Olfactory cues such as body odor, carbon dioxide, and nectar volatiles are sufficient to enable mosquito attraction.
The UF Infectious Disease Dynamics Group is led by Prof. Derek Cummings, Co-Principal Investigator (PI) on the Gateway Program and Lead-PI of Project 4 (see project descriptions for more information). The overall goal of the UFIDD group is:
Identify the factors that influence the spread of infectious diseases in order to control and prevent their proliferation