Zoonotic Disease Program
Vector-borne Disease Laboratory
The Zoonotic Disease Program Vector-borne Disease Laboratory works to prevent the spread of diseases by insects and other arthropods from animals to human beings. A vector is an arthropod (insect, tick, mosquito, etc.) which becomes infected with a disease-causing virus, rickettsia or bacterium and can transmit that infection to a human or other animal.
The Vector-borne Disease Laboratory (VBL) assists Ohio local mosquito control agencies by identifying and testing mosquitoes for viruses, such as West Nile virus (WNV). This enables communities to identify areas at risk for targeting mosquito control efforts and to provide early warning to residents. West Nile virus is not the only mosquito-borne disease of concern in Ohio. St. Louis encephalitis, a close relative of WNV, has caused human outbreaks in the past. La Crosse encephalitis, carried by the eastern treehole mosquito, is also endemic in Ohio. This virus primarily affects children.
Several species of tick are found in Ohio that carry diseases people and animals can get. The American dog tick transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever, the lone star tick carries ehrlichiosis and the black-legged tick transmits Lyme disease and anaplasmosis. Lone star and black-legged tick populations have increased their range in Ohio in recent years, and VBL continues to monitor.
Persons with questions or concerns about biting insects and other arthropods should contact their local health department. For a listing of Ohio local health departments, please see the local health district directory.
Last Updated: 04/01/2011
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