Sunday, May 13, 2012

Protecting Against Serious Diseases

Arthropods such as mosquitoes, spiders, ticks, mites, centipedes, and many other kinds of bugs can potentially cause serious diseases. Research is ongoing at the U.S Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Military Infectious Disease Research Program (MIDRP) to study how to protect against serious diseases caused by bugs.

For years, the research teams at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Naval Medical Research Center, and at laboratories throughout the world, in coordination with MIDRP in doing research and have developed the “Arthropod Vector Rapid Diagnostic Device or AV-RDD.

The AV-RDD is a hand held device used to determine whether arthropods such as sand flies and mosquitoes are infected with pathogenic organisms capable of infecting deployed military personnel. The purpose for the device is to identify areas in which arthropod-borne diseases are present, so that commanders can determine which steps to take to either control the arthropods with pesticides or trapping, or mandate the use of personal protective measures. The device can be used anywhere at any time, simple to use, and provides results in less than half an hour. 

“The AV-RDD products developed by the USAMRMC are unique in that they can identify if an arthropod is infected with a pathogen that may cause severe disease in humans,” said Monica O’Guinn, a senior biomedical scientist on the MIDRP team.

So far, five AV-RDD tool kits have been completed and able to detect Malaria, West Nile virus, and Rift Valley Fever virus, as well as a combination of viruses such as West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, and Western and Eastern Equine encephalitis. An AV-RDD has also been developed for Dengue and for Leishmania.

To establish how effectively they work, the AV-RDD kits have been tested in both Army and Navy laboratories and evaluated at USAMRMC and NMRC field sites in Thailand, Peru, Indonesia, and Kenya. These tool kits have been endorsed for use by the Armed Forces Pest Management Board.