December 16, 2019

Emergence of pyrethroid resistance in response to permethrin-treated uniforms

PIs: Ross M. Boyce (UNC-Chapel Hill), Natalie Bowman (UNC-Chapel Hill), Kara A. Moser (UNC-Chapel Hill), Michael Reiskind (NC State), Phillip George (Womack Army Medical Center)

Fall 2019 Seed Grant in Pathogenic and Commensal Organisms

The evolution and spread of insecticide resistance among insect vectors of human and veterinary disease represents a major threat to global public health. While there are many ways that insects can develop resistance, some are quite common across species, which makes them useful for monitoring the emergence and spread of resistance. In the United States, military service members are issued uniforms treated with an insecticide called permethrin, which is designed to protect them from vector-borne diseases such as West Nile and dengue. Widespread use of these uniforms, however, also creates a potential selective pressure for the development of resistance, especially in the geographic areas in and around major military installations. In this proposal, we will apply DNA sequencing methods to mosquitoes collected from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to determine if resistance mutations are circulating among disease carrying mosquitoes exposed to insecticide-treated uniforms. We will also compare the frequency of resistance mutations found among mosquitoes collected at Fort Bragg to mosquitoes collected in Wake County, where exposure to insecticide-treated materials is assumed to be much less. The results of this study have the potential to influence disease prevention and outbreak response efforts and inform Department of Defense force protection strategies.

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