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Medical entomology

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Title: Medical entomology  
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Subject: Bohart Museum of Entomology, Piophilidae, Infectious disease, Entomological Society of America, Novel virus
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Medical entomology

Aedes albopictus

The discipline of medical entomology, or public health entomology, and also veterinary entomology is focused upon insects and arthropods that impact human health. Veterinary entomology is included in this category, because many animal diseases can "jump species" and become a human health threat, for example, bovine encephalitis. Medical entomology also includes scientific research on the behavior, ecology, and epidemiology of arthropod disease vectors, and involves a tremendous outreach to the public, including local and state officials and other stake holders in the interest of public safety.

A U.S. Navy medical entomologist identifying insects

Medical Entomologists are employed by private and public universities, private industries, and federal, state, and local government agencies, including all three branches of the US military - who hire medical entomologists to protect the troops from infectious diseases that can be transmitted by arthropods. Historically, during wars, more people have died due to insect-transmitted diseases, than to all the battle injuries combined.

Medical entomologists are also hired by chemical companies - to help develop new pesticides which will effectively decrease insect pest populations while simultaneously protecting the health of the public.

Public health entomology has seen a huge surge in interest since 2005, due to the resurgence of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius.

Insects of medical importance

Medical entomologists work in the public health arena, dealing with insects (and other arthropods) that parasitize people, bite, sting, and/or vector disease.

Personal Pests

Some personal pests of may vector pathogens:Lice, Fleas, Bedbugs, Ticks, Scabies mites

The Housefly

The dysenteries are picked up by flies from the faeces of infected people and transferred to clean food either on the fly's hairs or by the fly vomiting during feeding. Typhoid germs may be deposited on food with the fly's faeces. The house fly cause the spread of yaws germs by carrying them from a yaws ulcer to an ordinary sore. Houseflies also transmit poliomyelitis by carrying the virus from infected faeces to food or drink. Cholera and hepatitis are sometimes fly-borne. Other diseases carried by houseflies are Salmonella, tuberculosis, anthrax, and some forms of ophthalmia. They carry over 100 pathogens and transmit some parasitic worms. The flies in poorer and lower-hygiene areas usually carry more pathogens. Some strains have become immune to most common insecticides.

The Cockroach

gastroenteritis) as they forage. Cockroach excrement and cast skins also contain a number of allergens causing responses such as, watery eyes,skin rashes, congestion of nasal passages and asthma.

Biting insects

Mosquitoes, Biting Midges, Sandflies, Black flies, Horse Flies, Stable flies.

Pathogen infection transmitted by insect or other arthropod vectors.

Diseases carried by insects and other arthropod vectors affect more than 700 million people every year, and are considered the most sensitive to climatic and environment conditions.(WHO)

Major insect-born disease

  • Dengue fever - Vectors: Aedes aegypti (main vector) Aedes albopictus (minor vector) threatens -50 million people are infected by dengue annually, 25,000 die. Threatens 2.5 billion people in more than 100 countries.
  • Malaria - Vectors: Anopheles mosquitoes - 500 million become severely ill with malaria every year and more than 1 million die.
  • Bubonic plague - Principal vector: Xenopsylla cheopis At least 100 flea species can transmit plague. Re-emerging major threat several thousand human cases per year.High pathogenicity and rapid spread.
  • Typhus - Vectors: mites, fleas and body lice 16 million cases a year, resulting in 600,000 deaths annually.



  • Mullen, G. L., and Durden, L. A., eds. 2002. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, Academic Press, NY
  • ldridge, B. F., and Edman, J. D., eds. 2000. Medical Entomology: A Textbook on Public Health and Veterinary Problems Caused by Arthropods. Kluwer Academic Publishers
  • Desowitz, R. S. 1991. The Malaria Capers. Norton and Co., New York, NY.
  • Goddard, J. 2007. Physician's Guide to Arthropods of Medical Importance, Fifth Edition.Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, ISBN 978-0-8493-8539-1 ISBN 0-8493-8539-3
  • Harwood, R. F., and M. T. James. 1979. Entomology in Human and Animal Health. Macmillan Pub. Co., NY.
  • Higley, L. G., L. L. Karr, and L. P. Pedigo. 1989. Manual of entomology and pest management. Macmillan Pub. Co., New York, NY—Chapter on medical pests vector and transmitted diseases table.
  • McNeil, W. H. 1976. Plagues and people. Anchor Press,Doubleday, Garden City, NY.
  • Service, M. 2008. Medical Entomology for Students 4th Edition Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-70928-6
  • Zinsser, H. 1934. Rats, lice, and history. Little, Brown, and Co., New York, NY.

See also

External links

  • Journal of Medical Entomology
  • Montana University Insects and History
  • Iowa State Internet Resources for Medical and Veterinary Entomologists
  • WHO
  • U C Riverside Walter Ebeling Urban entomology
  • University of São Paulo Institute of Biomedical Sciences Department of Parasitology 213 images for use as teaching aids for the training and education of veterinarians. Excellent.
  • WHO World Health Organization (WHO). 1989. Geographical distribution of arthropod-borne diseases and their principal vectors. Unpublished document WHO/VBC/89.967. Geneva: World Health Organization.
  • Internet Archive Full text of Medical Entomology Robert Matheson
  • WHO Public health sgnificance of urban pests.
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