Medical entomology

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 (known as "mad cow disease"). 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.

Medical Entomologists are employed by private and public universities, private industries, and federal, state, and local government agencies, including all three branches of the 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 heath entomology has seen a huge surge in interest since 2005, due to the resurgence of the bed bug, Cimex lectularias.


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 of which may vector pathogens: Lice, Fleas, Bedbugs, Ticks, Scabies mites

The Housefly

The housefly is a very common and cosmopolitan species which transmits diseases to man. The organisms of both amoebic and bacillary 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.

Biting insects

Mosquitoes, Biting Midges, (Sandflies), Blackflies, 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)


  • 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.
  • Yellow Fever - Principal vectors: Aedes simpsoni, A. africanus, and A. aegypti in Africa, species in Haemagogus genus in South America, and species in Sabethes genus in France -200,000 estimated cases of yellow fever (with 30,000 deaths) per year.


  • Kunjin encephalitis (mosquitoes)
  • Brugia timori filariasis - Primary vector: Anopheles barbirostris


  • 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

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • medical entomology — a branch of entomology concerned with insects that cause disease or serve as vectors of microorganisms causing disease in humans …   Medical dictionary

  • Journal of Medical Entomology — Специализация: Энтомология Периодичность: 6 раза в год Сокращённое название: J. Med. Entomol. Язык: Английский Адрес редакции: 10001 Derekwood Lane, Suite 100, L …   Википедия

  • Entomology — (from Greek gr. ἔντομος, entomos , that which is cut in pieces or engraved/segmented , hence insect ; and gr. λογία, logia cite book | author = Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott | year = 1980 | title = A Greek English Lexicon (Abridged… …   Wikipedia

  • Use of DNA in forensic entomology — Forensic science Physiological sciences …   Wikipedia

  • Forensic entomology — is the application and study of insect and other arthropod biology to criminal matters. Forensic entomology is primarily associated with death investigations however it may also be used to detect drugs and poisons, determine the location of an… …   Wikipedia

  • List of schools and organizations related to forensic entomology — Forensic entomology is the study of insects related to humans. There are three areas associated with forensic entomology; urban entomology, stored products entomology, and mediocriminal entomology. This page deals only with the area of… …   Wikipedia

  • Forensic entomology and the law — Forensic entomology deals with the collection of arthropodic evidence and its application, and through a series of tests and previously set of rules, general admissibility of said evidence is determined. Ultimately, the admissibility of forensic… …   Wikipedia

  • United States Air Force Medical Service — Seal of the Air Force Medical Service The United States Air Force Medical Service (AFMS) consists of the five distinct medical corps of the Air Force and enlisted medical technicians. The AFMS was created in 1949 after the newly independent Air… …   Wikipedia

  • MERTU — Medical Entomology Research and Training Unit, University de Valle (International » Guatemalan) …   Abbreviations dictionary

  • Bed bug — Cimex lectularius Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”