Newsletter Issue #61
Pacific Southwest Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases
+ News and Updates       +New Vector Control and Public Health Jobs
Entomology Advocacy Week: Mark your calendars for August 20th, 2020 webinar!

Entomological Society of America (ESA) is holding the annual Entomology Advocacy Week from August 15 to 21, 2020. Thursday, August 20 will be focusing on Vector-Borne Diseases on social media. There will be a webinar at 12:00 PM ET with the directors of the Northeast and the Southeastern CDC Centers of Excellence on Vector-Borne Diseases, Dr. Laura Harrington and Dr. Rhoel Dinglasan. #ENTVocate2020

Citrus flavoring is weaponized against insect-borne diseases

A new active ingredient, discovered and developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in insecticides and insect repellents. The new ingredient, nootkatone, repels and kill ticks, mosquitoes, and a wide variety of other biting pests. Nootkatone is responsible for the characteristic smell and taste of grapefruit and is widely used in the fragrance industry to make perfumes and colognes. It is found in minute quantities in Alaska yellow cedar trees and grapefruit skin. Nootkatone can now be used to develop new insect repellents and insecticides for protecting people and pets [CDC pess release] [news article].

Thermal thresholds heighten sensitivity of West Nile virus transmission to changing temperatures in coastal California

A new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley suggests that coastal populations may face an increased risk of contracting West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. The study adds to a long list of previous studies that show greater risk of arbovirus transmission in warmer locations and time periods. “Our data revealed a sharp transition, where — as temperatures shift between 70 to around 73 degrees Fahrenheit — the likelihood of capturing infected mosquitoes in L.A. neighborhoods increases dramatically,” said Nicholas Skaff, the lead author of the study and a former postdoctoral scholar in environmental health sciences at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. “Above this range, conditions become consistently favorable for transmission, and below this range, conditions are consistently unfavorable.” [publication] [news article]

Update on arbovirus activity in the Pacific Southwest
More mosquitoes from counties across the Pacific Southwest have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) and St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV). As of August 7th, 2020, 10 human cases of WNV disease from 3 counties across California has been reported [WNV activity in CA] [WNV activity in US]. A child tested positive for WNV last week and is the first person to be infected this year in Orange County. Vector control agencies continue to urge the public to take precautions such as applying repellents on exposed skin and getting rid of mosquito breeding sites.

Read More:

Alameda County, CA                              Orange County, CA                                  Davis, CA
Santa Clara, CA                                       Prairie, ID                                                Stanislaus, CA
Looking for testers for a Tick-Borne Disease Differential Diagnosis (TBD-DDx) mobile application
Gryphon Scientific and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) are looking for volunteers for the Tick-Borne Disease Differential Diagnosis (TBD-DDx) mobile application. Check out the recruitment flyer to learn more! To Participate, contact: Corey Meyer, PhD at

Coachella Valley MVCD Funding Opportunity
The Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District is requesting research proposals! This funding opportunity is aimed at improving their Integrated Vector Management Program targeting mosquitoes, red imported fire ants, and flies in the Coachella Valley. The general timeline for proposal submission review is as follows:
  • Proposal due by September 1, 2020
  • Proposals will be reviewed in October by District ad hoc Research Committee
  • Recommendations for funding District ad hoc Research Committee will be made at November Board Meeting (Nov 10th)
  • Researchers notified of Board decision on Nov 13th
  • Funding for selected research will be distributed in Jan 2021
  • Semiannual Report will be due in June
  • Annual Report Due in December
To learn more about this funding opportunity, click on the button below.
New online training course on vector surveillance methods from eCornell
Learn to develop an effective vector surveillance program, collect data, and communicate risk with the Cornell Entomology Department and eCornell in the newest online course Vector-Borne Diseases Surveillance. Take this 3-week instructor-led course with Dr. Laura Harrington and learn best practices to implement vector surveillance, data, and reporting methods.
Aedes Challenge 2020: Model forecasts invited
UPDATE: Because of the many challenges caused by COVID-19, we have decided to accept forecasts for the Aedes Challenge throughout the remainder of 2020. Interested modeling groups may register at anytime, and forecasts must be submitted before the first day of the month(s) being predicted. See the original announcement below, along with the link to the Aedes Challenge website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Vector-Borne Diseases and the CDC Epidemic Prediction Initiative, in collaboration with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and the Centers of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases, are pleased to announce an open Aedes forecasting challenge for 2020. The Aedes Forecasting Challenge focuses on predicting the seasonal presence of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus in a subset of U.S. counties from multiple states across the country. The challenge is open to anyone and any methodological approach. Further details on how to submit forecasts can be found on CDC's Epidemic Prediction Initiative website. Please disseminate this announcement widely to any modelers who may be interested. Any questions can be directed to
PacVec Resistance Testing
The Kearney Center has transitioned to remote work as a precaution due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This means any requested insecticide resistance testing or workshops will need to wait until normal activities resume. Dr. Anton Cornel and Katherine Brisco will still be available to offer resistance testing support and guidance at this time through email ( or teleconferencing.
Videos on Larval Mosquito Resistance Testing
In collaboration with partners at the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California, PacVec CoE has produced new training videos providing an overview of resistance testing for larval mosquitoes. The videos discuss the rationale for monitoring resistance in mosquitoes, an overview of dose responses and how the dose response changes as resistance to larvicides evolves in a mosquito population, the different types of larval mosquito control agents, the supplies needed for carrying out bioassays, bioassay set-up and making stock solutions of control agents, and interpreting the bioassay results. See the videos and related materials at
Need Bottle Bioassay Testing?
If you have mosquito (Aedes or Culex) samples to be tested for insecticide resistance, PacVec is providing testing and training services at no charge, and all results will be returned to you. Dr. Anton Cornel's laboratory is leading this activity and organizing various regional training workshops on bottle bioassay testing. If you are interested, please contact us right away at to arrange for shipment and timing of the testing.

Larval Mosquito Resistance Testing:
Vector Control and Public Health Agencies Need Summer Interns for 2020, or Just Help Advertising Positions for Students?
Please contact us anytime if your agency has seasonal positions that may be of interest to undergraduate students in the Pacific Southwest region. Such positions are important formative experiences for students, and they are excellent opportunities to raise awareness of career opportunities in vector-borne diseases. These can be simple job postings that we will advertise to our undergraduates or we can help you partner with faculty for project-based internships that involve academic credit with a faculty mentor and possible continued data analysis during the school year. If you are interested, please send us a note at To maximize your audience and reach the best candidates for your positions, please send us these position announcements as early as possible, ideally in January or February, before students have settled their summer plans.
Seasonal Vector Control Operator
Coachella Valley MVCD

Salary: $14.00 - $15.00 hourly
Location: Indio, CA

Seasonal Mosquito Control Aide
East Side MAD

Salary: $13.50 - $15.00 hourly
Location: Modesto, CA

Assistant Vector Control Technician
Antelope Valley MVCD

Salary: $14.25 hourly
Location: Lancaster, CA
NEW: Applied Science & Technologies Quality Control Specialist
Lee County Mosquito & Hyacinth Control District is inviting applications to fill this position. The Quality Control Specialist will be responsible for the management of a quality-controlled, mass-rearing mosquito program.

Location: Lehigh Acres, FL
$23.15 - $25.07 hourly
Closing Date: Open Until Filled
Assistant Vector Control Manager
Santa Cruz County is inviting applications to fill this position. Under the direction of the Agricultural Commissioner, manage the division, planning, implementing, directing and reviewing mosquito abatement and vector control programs.

Location: Santa Cruz County, CA
Salary: $8,460 - 11,306 monthly
Closing Date:
8/14/2020 11:59:00 PM
Division Coordinator
Ada County is inviting applications to fill this position. The Division Coordinator will be responsible for the leadership for specific divisions in field applications, mapping and surveillance in Ada County; ensures the implementation and execution of procedures necessary for weed, pest, or mosquito daily operations; and, prepares reports through the use of computer software, and performs related functions as required.

Location: Meridian, ID
Salary: $20.28 hourly
Research Biologist

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, is seeking qualified applicants for a Research Biologist position for the Bacterial Diseases Branch in Fort Collins, Colorado. The ideal candidate should have a doctorate degree in Biological Sciences (preferably disease ecology, medical entomology, vector biology, or related specialties) with several years of post-doctoral experience, a robust publication record, and a strong desire to do applied public health entomology and ecology research and related service activities.  Previous research experience focused on Lyme disease, plague, tularemia or tick-borne relapsing fever is desirable, but not required.

Likely Salary Range: $84,118 - $109,358
Apply prior to 08/31/2020

The position can be filled as soon as a qualified candidate is identified, preferably with a start date in early 2021.
Post-Doctoral Position in Population Genomics
A postdoctoral position is available in the Armbruster Lab at Georgetown University to study the population genomics of range expansion and climatic adaptation in the invasive mosquito, Aedes albopictus. The initial appointment will be for one year, with extension for an additional 1.5 years based on excellent performance.

Start Date: Ideally sometime in October thru December 2020
Salary: ~$49,000 annually with benefits

Review of applications will begin July 1, 2020 and continue until the position has been filled.
Part Time Neglected Pool Targeting Analyst, Aerial Services

The Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California is inviting applications for the position: Part Time Neglected Pool Targeting Analyst. The position is home based and requires a reasonably fast Windows 10 or later workstation with 2 good monitors, and a fast internet connection. Required licensed software includes Excel, Photoshop CS6 or higher, and free software including Google Earth PRO, FileZilla , as well as the installation of a number of data and image management programs provided by Aerial Services. Please email your interest to

Closing Date: Open Until Filled
Post-Doctoral Position
A postdoctoral position is available in the laboratory of Nicolas Buchon at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY, USA), for a highly motivated candidate to study host-microbe interactions, epithelial dynamics and stem cell biology in Aedes aegypti. The research project, funded by NIH (R01-AI148529), will use a combination of omics (transcriptomics, epigenomics, single cell omics), functional genetics (transgenesis, CRISPR), microbiology and imaging to study how microbes and parasites influence epithelial dynamics in the mosquito midgut.

Location: Ithaca, NY

Consideration of applications will begin immediately.
Associate Professor, Arbovirologist
The Department of Tropical Medicine in the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is seeking a prominent investigator in arboviral research to develop a Center of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases. The candidate should have a well-developed program in the area of molecular epidemiology, immunology, molecular biology, pathogenesis or pathogen-vector interactions for one or several arboviruses.

Location: New Orleans, LA
John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is inviting applications for the position: Director, for their new Lyme and Tick-borne Disease Institute for Research and Education. The position will perform faculty recruitment, expand and coordinate existing institutional research efforts, and to maintain their own vibrant research program. The search committee for this position expects to review applications summer, 2020, and thus application materials should be submitted by August 31, 2020.

Location: Baltimore, MD
Closing Date: Open Until Filled
Check out the list of links to employment postings on
PacVec Career Opportunities !
Donnelly MAP, Kluh S, Synder RE, Barker CM. Quantifying sociodemographic heterogeneities in the distribution of Aedes aegypti among California households. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2020.

Sambado S, Saloman J, Crews A, & Swei A. Mixed transmission modes promote persistence of an emerging tick-borne pathogen. Disease Ecology. 2020.

Mader EM, Ganser C, Geiger A, Harrington LC, Foley J, Smith et al. A survey of tick surveillance and control practices in the United States. J Med Entomol. 2020.

Comeau G, Zinna RA, Scott T, Erst K, Walker K, Carrière Y, Riehle MA. Vertical transmission of Zika virus in Aedes aegypti produces potentially infectious progeny. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020.

Swetnam DM, Stuart JB, Young K, Maharaj PD, Fang Y, Garcia S…Coffey LL. Movement of St. Louis encephalitis virus in the Western United States, 2014-2018. PLoS Neg Trop Dis. 2020 Jun.

Yeh KB, Fair JM, Smith W, Martinez Torres T, Lucas J & Monagin C et al. Assessing climate change impact on ecosystems and infectious disease: Important roles for genomic sequencing and a One Health perspective. Trop Med Infect Dis. 2020.

López-Pérez AM, Orozco L, Zazueta OE, Fierro M, Gomez P, Foley J. An exploratory analysis of demography and movement patterns of dogs: new insights in the ecology of endemic Rocky Mountain-Spotted Fever in Mexicali, Mexico. PLoS One. 2020 May 21.
Interested in viewing more articles from PacVec researchers?
Check them out here!
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