A Biologically Informed Framework for Vector Surveillance in Southern Mexico and Northern Belize

Recently, environmental surveys have revealed changes in the biogeography of zoonoses due to changing environmental conditions and host population shifts, which ultimately results in increases and expansion in vector-borne illnesses. This has been of particular concern in Mexico and Belize, as tens of thousands of people a year trek through hot spots of zoonotic disease on the journey from Central America into the US. Given the capacity for the epidemiology of arthropod-borne diseases to rapidly change, providing policy makers with the latest biosurveillance data of these immigration routes is of paramount importance. This project aims to provide meaningful biosurveillance data from screening of diverse populations of arthropods to determine both the species and infection status for multiple pathogens. The project is using real-time PCR to identify pathogens in different vectors followed by PCR amplicon sequencing to further characterize the species of pathogens present in these infected vectors. The vectors of interest include, but are not limited to ticks (rickettsiosis, babesiosis, borreliosis and other febrile illnesses); mosquitos (malaria, dengue, yellow fever, zika and other arboviruses) and Triatominae (Chagas disease) in the southern Mexico and northern Belize area, along the path of mass human migration and combined military trainings.

There are 3 main objectives:

  1. Perform biosurveillance in Southern Mexico and Northern Belize to determine vector diversity, prevalence and seasonality.
  2. Update VectorMap with the new information gathered during the execution of the project.
  3. Assess vector seasonality and disease risk.


Dr. Chien-Chung Chao

Dr. Chien-Chung Chao is currently affiliated to the Viral and Rickettsial Diseases Department, Infectious Diseases Directorate, US Naval Medical Research Center,USA, continuing research in the specialized scientific area of proteomic. Dr. Chien-Chung Chao is serving as an honorary author for Journal of Medical Microbiology & Diagnosis & other reputed journals and has authored several articles along with chapters in different books related to proteomic.

Dr. Yvonne Linton

Dr. Yvonne Linton is the Research Director of the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit at Smithsonian Institution (National Museum of Natural History).