Public health threats originating from vector-borne diseases have increased due to globalization and changes to the environment. Such diseases are difficult to prevent and control due to their complex nature. For example, North Texas has warm weather, a high volume of air and surface transportation, an increasing population, and a large number of international travelers that may serve as hosts, all of which may contribute to the increased likelihood of an emerging vector-borne disease outbreak. In addition, North Texas has been experiencing a high level of mosquito-borne West Nile virus transmissions resulting in a significant number of West Nile neuroinvasive disease cases and deaths, despite our best prevention and control efforts. The faculty at UNTHSC have been conducting research to better understand the epidemiology and transmission ecology of vector-borne diseases.
Dr. Joon Lee has conducted research on vector-borne viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases to develop a better monitoring and control system. Through a partnership with the city of Fort Worth, he has created the West Nile Virus Surveillance and Response program in addition to working closely with the Tarrant County Public Health Department to examine factors that may help reduce the public health burden of West Nile virus.
Dr. Katherine Fogelberg has contributed to research with Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB) looking into the prevalence and transmissibility of trypanosomiasis, a vector-borne zoonotic disease considered by the WHO to be neglected. The results from VWB’s work has indicated a much higher prevalence of this severe disease in northern rural Uganda than was previously reported. Her main area of focus is in ensuring education and information about zoonotic disease, of which vector borne diseases are a large subset, and looking at the ways disasters and global climate change are affecting the emergence/re-emergence of zoonotic disease.
This page was last modified on February 13, 2017