Approx. 1:24:00

Wednesday Nite @ The Lab
Published on Jan 16, 2018

“Susan Paskewitz’s talk will focus on the activities of the newly created Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease. The center was established in 2017 as a response to the increasing rate of human illness caused by tick and mosquito-transmitted diseases in the region, including Lyme disease and West Nile encephalitis. In addition to these familiar problems, new ticks, mosquitoes, and pathogens have been discovered. Solving these issues will require a new generation of trained vector biologists, cooperation and collaboration among public-health professionals and scientists, and creative and innovative research to reduce human and insect contact.”

About the Speaker

Paskewitz is the director of the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease and the chair of the Department of Entomology at UW–Madison. Her research focuses on the ecology, epidemiology, and management of ticks and mosquitoes. She teaches classes in global health, medical and veterinary entomology, and the One Health concept, during which she enjoys working with undergraduate and graduate students who seek to gain experience in public health, infectious disease, and vector-biology research. Paskewitz earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale and her doctorate at the University of Georgia–Athens.



4:45 Believe it or not, Wisconsin used to have cases of Malaria.

Zika, discovered in 1947, wasn’t even in our hemisphere. Very few people infected until 2007 when there were 13-14 cases. 2015 it showed up in Brazil. First time a mosquito spread disease that is also sexually transmitted. A medical entomologist felt he gave it to his wife and then wrote a paper on it.

(I guess we need a medical entomologist to infect his/her wife with Lyme/MSIDS so that a paper can be written to prove sexual transmission…..) Please see: and

UW did a lot of work on Zika. Cases in the U.S. occurred when people traveled abroad, became infected, were bit by mosquitoes here, and then spread from there. Only 63 infected people in 2016, 9 more in 2017.

Do we have the mosquitoes that can pick up the virus and transmit it? The Yellow Fever mosquito is the one transmitting Zika. The mosquito is here in U.S. but NOT in WI.  The Asian Tiger mosquito is a secondary vector that transmits the same viruses but not as well. Has a wider distribution and is a daytime feeder.

She looked in all the records – couldn’t find the Asian Tiger in Wisconsin.  It is found in Illinois and Indiana.  However, since that time they have laid many traps and found the Asian Tiger Mosquito here but she doesn’t feel they are abundant or wide spread.  She also feels they won’t survive our winters but experiments are in progress.  Females bite, lay eggs in wet aquatic spots, as larvae need water to grow.

(The same sort of diligence needs to happen in the world of Lyme.  For instance, borrelia has been found in other insects, but entomologists downplay it and say numbers are small.  This is a great example of how Lyme is treated differently then other diseases that are big money-makers for researchers.)

25:32 The Lone star tick has popped up in a number of places in WI – she doesn’t feel they will survive our winters.

Spent a lot of time talking about mosquito issues happening down South.

She admits the Center was created due to Zika.  

(Don’t be shocked when all the research dollars go to Zika & not tick borne illness despite the much higher prevalence of TBI’s in WI)

Wisconsin has cases of West Nile, La Crosse Virus, and Jamestown Canyon Virus – which has increased human cases – they don’t know why.

They are working on a bacterial based topical repellent.  Also working on using fish and copepods to eat mosquitos at the larval stage.

38:00 TICKS

Ticks transmit Lyme Disease – a lot and it’s not just in the North. Could pick it up anywhere in Wisconsin.

Please see:

Map showing Deer tick population between 1907-1996 and 1907-2015 –

Our entire state is infested.  

Sky rocket of LD in WI CONFIRMED.  She admits the CDC says the cases are hugely underestimated – more like 30,000 cases per year in WI.

WI is a hotspot for newly emerging TBI – Anaplasma, Ehrlichia muris, borrelia miyamotoi (relapsing fever), Babesia divergens (in Michigan but Paskowitz feels it’s probably here too).

Anaplasma seeing 400-600 cases a year in WI.  Again, much underreporting.

44:00 talks about tick distribution maps.

Please see: (go to page 6 and read about Speilman’s maps which are faulty but have ruled like the Iron Curtain, and have been used to keep folks from being diagnosed and treated)

They are working on a way for public to take pictures of ticks, send it to the lab and get answers.

Trying to reduce the risk….they think it’s the nymphs that do most of the transmission because they are tiny and we don’t feel them.

Larvae and nymphs love little rodents
Adults love adults, dogs, and deer

50:00 what we can do to stop LD

52:30 One experiment removed buckthorn – looked like a significant impact after first year but nothing after that.

53:20 tick tubes for micefound a decrease in host-seeking nymphs with this seen it three years running.

Trying to come up with a do it yourself toolkit to implement methods for tick control.

55:55 Working on the tick app – to pool info to show where we are picking up the ticks so education can be more targeted.

ends @ 58:30 then questions

Funding by:  CDC, NIH, USDA, WI Dept HEalth services, WI Dep Natural resources