The Biology of Arthropod Disease Vectors
The goal of this course is to introduce students to arthropods that are vectors for a wide variety of infectious agents that cause human diseases. The unique biology of hematophagous arthropods that has evolved to facilitate the coexistence between the vectors, pathogens, and the vertebrate host will be illustrated in both lectures and practical sessions. The curriculum will build upon a general introduction to arthropods. Then, using specific examples, the processes of infection, development, and transmission of pathogens will be discussed. This will include vector behaviors involved in location of the host, physiological adaptations to facilitate blood feeding and digestion, and factors that influence the vector-pathogen relationship. Options for controlling vector-borne diseases will be discussed from a historical perspective, with a consideration of how modern molecular approaches might be used in the future.