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Concept: Insect-borne diseases


The current antibody tests used for monitoring in lymphatic filariasis (LF) elimination programs suffer from poor specificity because of the considerable geographical overlap with other filarial infections such as Loa loa (Ll), Onchocerca volvulus (Ov), and Mansonella perstans (Mp).

Concepts: Nematodes, Parasitic diseases, Diethylcarbamazine, Filariasis, Wuchereria bancrofti, Insect-borne diseases, Loa loa filariasis, Mansonella


Internet-based surveillance methods for vector-borne diseases (VBDs) using “big data” sources such as Google, Twitter, and internet newswire scraping have recently been developed, yet reviews on such “digital disease detection” methods have focused on respiratory pathogens, particularly in high-income regions. Here, we present a narrative review of the literature that has examined the performance of internet-based biosurveillance for diseases caused by vector-borne viruses, parasites, and other pathogens, including Zika, dengue, other arthropod-borne viruses, malaria, leishmaniasis, and Lyme disease across a range of settings, including low- and middle-income countries. The fundamental features, advantages, and drawbacks of each internet big data source are presented for those with varying familiarity of “digital epidemiology.” We conclude with some of the challenges and future directions in using internet-based biosurveillance for the surveillance and control of VBD.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Infectious disease, Bacteria, Vaccination, Vector, Internet, Insect-borne diseases


Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are generally assumed to be concentrated in poor populations, but evidence on this remains scattered. We describe within-country socioeconomic inequalities in nine NTDs listed in the London Declaration for intensified control and/or elimination: lymphatic filariasis (LF), onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH), trachoma, Chagas' disease, human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), leprosy, and visceral leishmaniasis (VL).

Concepts: Infectious disease, Parasitic diseases, African trypanosomiasis, Vector, Neglected diseases, Tropical disease, Insect-borne diseases, Tropical diseases


Lyme borreliosis is the most common tick-borne human disease and is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.). Borrelia miyamotoi, a relapsing fever spirochaete, is transmitted transovarially, whereas this has not been shown for B. burgdorferi (s.l). Therefore, B. burgdorferi (s.l) is considered to cycle from nymphs to larvae through vertebrates. Larvae of Ixodes ricinus are occasionally B. burgdorferi (s.l) infected, but their vector competence has never been studied.

Concepts: Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia, Spirochaetes, Ixodes ricinus, Allen Steere, Insect-borne diseases, Zoonoses


Humans in the northeastern and midwestern United States are at increasing risk of acquiring tickborne diseases - not only Lyme disease, but also two emerging diseases, human granulocytic anaplasmosis and human babesiosis. Co-infection with two or more of these pathogens can increase the severity of health impacts. The risk of co-infection is intensified by the ecology of these three diseases because all three pathogens (Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and Babesia microti) are transmitted by the same vector, blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis), and are carried by many of the same reservoir hosts. The risk of exposure to multiple pathogens from a single tick bite and the sources of co-infected ticks are not well understood. In this study, we quantify the risk of co-infection by measuring infection prevalence in 4,368 questing nymphs throughout an endemic region for all three diseases (Dutchess County, NY) to determine if co-infections occur at frequencies other than predicted by independent assortment of pathogens. Further, we identify sources of co-infection by quantifying rates of co-infection on 3,275 larval ticks fed on known hosts. We find significant deviations of levels of co-infection in questing nymphs, most notably 83% more co-infection with Babesia microti and Borrelia burgdorferi than predicted by chance alone. Further, this pattern of increased co-infection was observed in larval ticks that fed on small mammal hosts, but not on meso-mammal, sciurid, or avian hosts. Co-infections involving A. phagocytophilum were less common, and fewer co-infections of A. phagocytophilum and B. microti than predicted by chance were observed in both questing nymphs and larvae fed on small mammals. Medical practitioners should be aware of the elevated risk of B. microti/B. burgdorferi co-infection.

Concepts: Lyme disease, Tick, Ixodes scapularis, Borrelia burgdorferi, Babesiosis, Human granulocytic anaplasmosis, Tick-borne disease, Insect-borne diseases


The London Declaration (2012) was formulated to support and focus the control and elimination of ten neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), with targets for 2020 as formulated by the WHO Roadmap. Five NTDs (lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths and trachoma) are to be controlled by preventive chemotherapy (PCT), and four (Chagas' disease, human African trypanosomiasis, leprosy and visceral leishmaniasis) by innovative and intensified disease management (IDM). Guinea worm, virtually eradicated, is not considered here. We aim to estimate the global health impact of meeting these targets in terms of averted morbidity, mortality, and disability adjusted life years (DALYs).

Concepts: Infectious disease, Parasitic diseases, African trypanosomiasis, Vector, Neglected diseases, Tropical disease, Insect-borne diseases, Tropical diseases


Climate is one of several causes of disease emergence. Although half or more of infectious diseases are affected by climate it appears to be a relatively infrequent cause of human disease emergence. Climate mostly affects diseases caused by pathogens that spend part of their lifecycle outside of the host, exposed to the environment. The most important routes of transmission of climate sensitive diseases are by arthropod (insect and tick) vectors, in water and in food. Given the sensitivity of many diseases to climate, it is very likely that at least some will respond to future climate change. In the case of vector-borne diseases this response will include spread to new areas. Several vector-borne diseases have emerged in Europe in recent years; these include vivax malaria, West Nile fever, dengue fever, Chikungunya fever, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. The vectors of these diseases are mosquitoes, sand flies and ticks. The UK has endemic mosquito species capable of transmitting malaria and probably other pathogens, and ticks that transmit Lyme disease. The UK is also threatened by invasive mosquito species known to be able to transmit West Nile, dengue, chikungunya and Zika, and sand flies that spread leishmaniasis. Warmer temperatures in the future will increase the suitability of the UK’s climate for these invasive species, and increase the risk that they may spread disease. While much attention is on invasive species, it is important to recognize the threat presented by native species too. Proposed actions to reduce the future impact of emerging vector-borne diseases in the UK include insect control activity at points of entry of vehicles and certain goods, wider surveillance for mosquitoes and sand flies, research into the threat posed by native species, increased awareness of the medical profession of the threat posed by specific diseases, regular risk assessments, and increased preparedness for the occurrence of a disease emergency.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Malaria, Infection, Mosquito, Dengue fever, Vector, Mosquito control, Insect-borne diseases


Once interruption of transmission of lymphatic filariasis is achieved, morbidity prevention and management becomes more important. A study in Brugia malayi filariasis from India has shown sub-clinical lymphatic pathology with potential reversibility. We studied a Wuchereria bancrofti infected population, the major contributor to LF globally.

Concepts: Diethylcarbamazine, Filariasis, Brugia timori, Brugia malayi, Wuchereria bancrofti, Insect-borne diseases, Elephantiasis, Onchocercidae


The objectives of this study were to determine the proportion of malaria, bacteraemia, scrub typhus, leptospirosis, chikungunya and dengue among hospitalized patients with acute undifferentiated fever in India, and to describe the performance of standard diagnostic methods.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Sample size, Malaria, Fever, Dengue fever, Mosquito control, Bacterial diseases, Insect-borne diseases


The use of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) is crucial to the prevention, control, and elimination of malaria. Using household surveys conducted in 2014-2015 by the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative project in Madagascar, Mali, and Nigeria, we compared a model of psychosocial influence, called Ideation, to examine how malaria-related variables influence individual and household bed net use in each of these countries. Evaluations of non-malaria programs have confirmed the value of the ideational approach, but it is infrequently used to guide malaria interventions. The study objective was to examine how well this model could identify potentially effective malaria prevention approaches in different contexts.

Concepts: Malaria, Africa, Mosquito, Yellow fever, .NET Framework, Insect repellent, Insect-borne diseases, Mosquito net