Author(s): Kitchen LW, Lawrence KL, Coleman RE
Arthropod-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, scrub typhus, and leishmaniasis continue to pose a significant threat to U.S. military forces deployed in support of operational and humanitarian missions. These diseases are transmitted by a variety of arthropods, including mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, sand flies, and biting midges. In addition to disease threats, biting arthropods can cause dermatitis, allergic reactions, and sleep loss; therefore, monitoring of vector impact and integrated use of personal protective measures (PPM) and methods to reduce the vector populations are needed to protect service members. The U.S. military has played a vital role in vector identification tools and the development and testing of many of the most effective PPM and vector control products available today, including the topical repellent DEET and the repellent/insecticide permethrin, which is applied to clothing and bed nets. Efforts to develop superior products are ongoing. Although the U.S. military often needs vector control products with rather specific properties (e.g., undetectable, long-lasting in multiple climates) in order to protect its service members, many Department of Defense vector control products have had global impacts on endemic disease control.