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Annu Rev Entomol. 2002;47:233-66.

Invasions by insect vectors of human disease.

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  • 1Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, University of Florida, Vero Beach, Florida 32962, USA.


Nonindigenous vectors that arrive, establish, and spread in new areas have fomented throughout recorded history epidemics of human diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, typhus, and plague. Although some vagile vectors, such as adults of black flies, biting midges, and tsetse flies, have dispersed into new habitats by flight or wind, human-aided transport is responsible for the arrival and spread of most invasive vectors, such as anthropophilic fleas, lice, kissing bugs, and mosquitoes. From the fifteenth century to the present, successive waves of invasion of the vector mosquitoes Aedes aegypti, the Culex pipiens Complex, and, most recently, Aedes albopictus have been facilitated by worldwide ship transport. Aircraft have been comparatively unimportant for the transport of mosquito invaders. Mosquito species that occupy transportable container habitats, such as water-holding automobile tires, have been especially successful as recent invaders. Propagule pressure, previous success, and adaptations to human habits appear to favor successful invasions by vectors.

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