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Keywords:

  • Arthropod saliva;
  • Immune modulation;
  • Skin immunity;
  • Vector-borne pathogen

Abstract

Diseases, such as malaria, dengue, leishmaniasis and tick-borne encephalitis, affect a substantial percentage of the world's population and continue to result in significant morbidity and mortality. One common aspect of these diseases is that the pathogens that cause them are transmitted by the bite of an infected arthropod (e.g. mosquito, sand fly, tick). The pathogens are delivered into the skin of the mammalian host along with arthropod saliva, which contains a wide variety of bioactive molecules. These saliva components are capable of altering hemostasis and immune responses and may contribute to the ability of the pathogen to establish an infection. The biological and immunological events that occur during pathogen transmission are poorly understood but may hold the key to novel approaches to prevent transmission and/or infection. In May 2011, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the Department of Health and Human Services hosted a workshop entitled Immunological Consequences of Vector-Derived Factors which brought together experts in skin immunology, parasitology and vector biology to outline the gaps in our understanding of the process of pathogen transmission, to explore new approaches to control pathogen transmission, and to initiate and foster multidisciplinary collaborations among these investigators.