Insects and Infectious Diseases  

  HEADProf. REITER Paul /

  Annual Report

Vector-borne diseases have acquired a high profile in scientific, public and political debate on emerging pathogens and environmental change. IMI addresses three topics relevant to this debate.

Genetic control of Aedes aegypti

The mosquito Aedes aegypti is the principal urban vector of dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. There is an urgent need for new and innovative methods for its control.

Bioengineering is a major focus of research in agricultural and public health entomology. Our UK collaborators ( have created a strain of Ae. aegypti with a dominant tetracycline-repressible gene. The aim is to release transgenic males in the field; the progeny of matings with wild females will die. Ultimately we will select a sex-linked strain that will kill only female progeny, providing a “driver” for the lethal gene in the field. We are studying the ‘fitness’ of such transgenic strains and will also attempt to engineer strains of Aedes albopictus, another important disease vector.

Epidemiology of West Nile virus in Europe

West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that is mainly transmitted between birds. Recent human epidemics of WNV encephalitis have generated fears of the emergence of a new public health problem. IMI is directing a €1.4 million EC-funded study of WNV transmission in Spain, France, Italy, the Czech Republic and Romania Participants apply a common protocol to studies of the epidemiology and transmission dynamics of the virus in the field. A “horizontal” sub-project applies satellite-derived information and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology to our data to model present and future transmission and geographic distribution.

Vertical transmission of Yellow Fever virus

Recent field studies indicate that transmission of yellow fever virus via the egg stage of vector mosquitoes may be more significant than is apparent in the laboratory. We are studying a range of parameters that may account for this anomaly. The project is in collaboration with the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) in Cameroon.

Course: Arthropod Vectors and Human Health

This is a new course on the biology and ecology of vectors, and the dynamics and control of the pathogens they transmit. It is approved as a module of a Masters degree at Université de Versailles and a Graduate Degree at Paris Universities 6 and 7.

Arthropod collection

We maintain a unique collection of ca. 100,000 specimens of arthropods, spanning nearly two centuries, consulted by specialists from around the world.

Liaison with the public

We frequently answer requests from governments, industry, the press and the public for information on arthropods and arthropod-borne disease.



Publications 2006 of the unit on Pasteur's references database

Activity Reports 2006 - Institut Pasteur
If you have problems with this Web page, please write to