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Institute for Infectious Disease Translational Research

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Project 1: Emerging Infectious Diseases

Emerging infectious diseases with epidemic potential can have devasting consequences on the economy and well-being of all those across the globe, nation, and here in South Carolina.

Project Significance

Brazil has a long history of mosquito-borne outbreaks. Outbreaks caused by zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses started in the Amazon and spread to the continental USA. Identifying emerging arboviruses of epidemic potential from the Amazon is critical for the USA, as the same mosquito vector species exist nationally and these mosquito species are predicted to quadruple in range expansions in the next 25 years, placing ~150 million Americans at-risk for mosquito-borne diseases.

Research Innovation

Our pathogen emergence project fills the scientific research gap by applying next generation sequencing to paired patient and mosquito surveillance studies to generate key data for disease prediction modeling.

Research Questions

Uncover the ecological characteristics associated with successful novel arboviral spillover events in the Western Amazon through paired undifferentiated febrile human and mosquito surveillance.

Newly deforested fragmented habitats at the start of the rainy season will experience the highest arboviral infection prevalence among humans and associated animals within their immediate homestead.

The collection and testing of samples from local persons, animals, and mosquitoes near newly deforested regions of the Amazon will allow for real-time disease confirmation and treatment of infectious diseases. Additionally, the data we collect will be employed to determine predictive determinants of emerging arboviral-human spillover events.

By addressing the origins and spillover of novel mosquito-borne diseases in real-time, we hope to effectively prevent and mitigate potential epidemic threats.

SC Impact 

While this research will improve the lives of all individuals in South Carolina, populations affected by health disparities will greatly benefit from this project’s focus area and the institute’s work at large.

Institute for Infectious Disease Translational Research

    Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.