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Vector-borne diseases (VBD) are viruses and bacteria spread by vectors including mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, and they can cause a variety of illnesses in humans. ​​The vectors ingest the microorganisms from an infected host and transmit to a new host through a bite. Many public health laboratories test for VBDs that are endemic (see list below) as well as those emerging or re-emerging in the US.

APHL works with CDC and public health laboratories to promote best practices, develop guidance and hold important laboratory trainings related to the most commonly found vector-borne diseases in the country. Public health laboratories are integral to performing high quality testing to assess regional disease burden and inform the nation's response to vector-borne diseases.

Endemic Vector-borne Di​seases

There are several endemic VBDs of public health concern within the US including those listed below. These VBDs are not equally distributed and therefore testing within a particular public health laboratory may only include some of the pathogens. 

  • Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme Disease)​
  • Colorado Tick Fever Virus (CTFV)
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV)
  • Jamestown Canyon Virus (JCV)
  • LaCrosse Encephalitis Virus (LCV)
  • Powassan Virus
  • St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV)
  • West Nile Virus (WNV)

APHL Resources

Invasive Vector-Borne Dise​ases

Dengue virus, chikungunya virus and Zika vi​rus have become public health concerns in the US. Though these viruses are predominantly seen in travelers returning to the US, some local tra​nsmission of dengue​ and chikungunya has occurred in the US, and health authorities continue to monitor the status of the Zika virus closely. Many public health laboratories maintain capability to test​ for one or more of these and other invasive​ VBDs. 

  • Dengue: State and local public health laboratories diagnose suspected dengue cases through virus isolation, serological tests or molecular methods.

  • Zika: ​Following the Zika virus response, APHL published a book highlighting the experiences of public health laboratories keeping up with the Zika outbreak and the challenges they faced during the response. 

  • Chikungunya: For Chikungunya virus protocols visit APHL's Emerging Infectious Disease Protocols (member access only). ​​

Vector-Borne Diseases Training and Educational Resources​

APHL, in collaboration with CDC, developed training and educational resources to promote competency, quality and safety in vector-borne disease testing practices. These resources are primarily designed for laboratorians interested in learning more about the several testing methods available for testing for vector-borne diseases.

The following eLearning modules and training resources are available in APHL's Learning Center to help with your educational needs. You must create a free APHL account to access the training courses in the learning center. For questions on how to use APHL's Learning Center, please email alc@aphl.org.

Access the APHL Learning Center

Recorded Webinars and Trainings ​