Protecting US troops against sand flies

November 19, 2012

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are helping deployed American troops protect themselves against sand flies, which are major pests in Afghanistan, Africa and the Middle East.

Sand flies are vectors of Leishmania parasites that cause leishmaniasis, a devastating disease for which there is no vaccine or medication. People who are bitten by infected sand flies do not know whether they have the disease until it becomes apparent three or four months later. Symptoms include permanent skin disfigurement and sometimes severe organ damage.

At the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville, Texas, entomologists Andrew Li and Adalberto Pérez de León, along with their colleagues, are studying different methods to kill sand flies. Part of the research is funded by a USDA initiative called the Deployed War-Fighter Protection Research Program, designed to find methods to help protect military personnel against disease-causing insects.

The researchers are screening insecticides to find out which ones are more effective and useful to military personnel and other people affected by this pest. Li is also studying sand fly resistance to pesticides, and is developing a test for detecting the mutations responsible for resistance.

To evaluate new insecticides and repellents, researchers started a sand fly colony, which will also enable them to develop formulations and design diagnostic tools that can rapidly detect sand fly resistance to chemicals. This research is especially crucial for deployed military personnel. It was reported that in one incident, troops in Iraq were being bitten between 100 and 1,000 times per night by sand flies.

Finding solutions to control sand flies is also a priority of scientists at the ARS European Biological Control Laboratory in Thessaloniki, Greece, where they're taking a close look at sand fly populations that transmit leishmaniasis in their country. Results from this research could also help scientists initiate better strategies and develop new and improved tools to control sand flies.
-end-
ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Read more about this research in the November/December 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine. http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov12/insects1112.htm

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics

Related Insecticides Articles from Brightsurf:

Two pesticides approved for use in US harmful to bees
A previously banned insecticide, which was approved for agricultural use last year in the United States, is harmful for bees and other beneficial insects that are crucial for agriculture, and a second pesticide in widespread use also harms these insects.

Insect Armageddon: low doses of the insecticide, Imidacloprid, cause blindness in insects
Joint research provides important evidence on the role of insecticides on the longevity of insect population.

Researchers warn of food-web threats from common insecticides
In an opinion in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from North Carolina State University and Pennsylvania State University argued for curbing the use of neonicotinoid insecticides.

Alarming long-term effects of insecticides weaken ant colonies
This week, scientists of the Institute of Bee Health of the University of Bern have published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Communications Biology, which shows how even low doses of neonicotinoid insecticides, as they may realistically occur in contaminated soils, adversely affect the development of black garden ants (Lasius niger).

Treatments tested for invasive pest on allium crops
A Cornell University-led team of researchers field-tested 14 active ingredients in insecticides, applied in a variety of methods, to understand the best treatment options against the Allium leafminer, a growing threat to onions, garlic and leeks.

Insecticides are becoming more toxic to honey bees
Researchers discover that neonicotinoid seed treatments are driving a dramatic increase in insecticide toxicity in U.S. agricultural landscapes, despite evidence that these treatments have little to no benefit in many crops.

Time for a closer look at Pyrethroid insecticides
Columbia professors offer their perspective on a recent study on Pyrethroid, among the most widely used insecticides for public health control of vector-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus.

Scientist identify new marker for insecticide resistance in malaria mosquitoes
Researchers at LSTM have genetically modified malaria carrying mosquitoes in order to demonstrate the role of particular genes in conferring insecticide resistance.

The use of certain neonicotinoids could benefit bumblebees, new study finds
Not all neonicotinoid insecticides have negative effects on bees, according to researchers at Lund University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Efficient synthesis of ginkgo compound could lead to new drugs, 'green' insecticides
Chemists at Scripps Research have invented an efficient method for making a synthetic version of the plant compound bilobalide, which is naturally produced by gingko trees.

Read More: Insecticides News and Insecticides Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.