This page provides a general overview of the current activities in the department. The department of Medical Entomology has many dynamic research and scholarly activities that are recognized nationally and internationally. "Highlights" items focus on as follows.
Epidemiological Investigation of Outbreaks of Vector-borne diseases
This is an important goal to resolve entomological problems in collaboration with the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Health through research making the results available to other scientists, educators, and the general public to develop effective control measures for the community. As a result of a previous study on the impact of the Asian Tsunami on mosquito vectors in the most affected areas of Phang Nga Province in December 2004, for instance, a small-scale project for controlling mosquito larvae inhabiting swamps and ponds contaminated by seawater using Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (VectoBac® WDG) and application of natural mosquito repellents to prevent the local people from mosquito bites was conducted with a satisfactorily success; its use has been extended to the worst-affected area, Ban Nam Khem Village at present. The department help investigate re-emerging and emerging diseases, e.g., local transmission of malaria in Sa Kaeo Province and autochthonous visceral leishmaniasis of Thailand and subsequently, a new species of Leishmania is proposed. In addition, the department works with local public-health officials to determine infestations of mites in the external ear canals of shallot farmers in Si Saket Province, and an outbreak of contact dermatitis due to infestation of rove beetles in apartments in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, as well as identification of medically important insects, such as maggots causing myiasis (recently, bot flies from in travellers), ticks and mites for general hospitals.
Technology to Assist the Public
Studies on insecticidal activities of several species of Thai herbal extracts for controlling mosquito vectors provided various promising oil extracts that showed mosquito repellency effect, such as Qinghao (Artemisia annua), May Chang” (Litsea cubeba), cloves (Syzygium aromaticum), and “Ma Khwaen” (Zanthoxylum limonella), and were formulated in forms of cream or gel. The extract of “Thong Pan Chung” (Rhinacanthus nasutus) provided high larvicidal activity is prepared as tablet form. The development of mosquito repellent formulation of volatile oils mixture, Qinghaoand May Chang has recently been obtained a petty patent with an average protection time longer than 5 hours. Our research group is to transferring low cost and simple production of this patent repellent developed in our laboratory into the communities with malaria- and dengue-high risk transmission through training for their own production and use for the disease prevention with legal permission.
Developing Effective Tools
The Department, with the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Health, is conducting a project in collaboration with the European Research Community entitled “Toward successful dengue prevention and control” to determine the field efficacy of commercial impregnated, long-lasting curtains in reduction of man-vector contact and control of dengue-vector populations in Phag Nga Province as an optional tool for DHF control.
Insect Vector Rearing Laboratory
Laboratory colonies of different strains of mosquito vector species of Anopheles, Aedes, Culex, and Mansonia as well as other medically important insects, for example, cockroaches, flies, bedbugs and ticks are maintained in the insectarium for research and educational purpose.
Mosquito Museum and Reference Center
The Department of Medical Entomology acts as a reference center on mosquito vectors of Thailand through establishment of the Mosquito Museum. The collections include 18 genera of mosquitoes with more than 20,000 specimens (mounted slide and pinned). In addition, DNA of mosquito vectors are extracted and preserved in the museum collections. Academic consultations, especially on mosquito-borne diseases and their control measures are also provided.