Common Insects and the Possible Diseases They Carry


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Biological transmission occurs when the infectious microbes reproduce within a vector such as insects (arthropods) and the microbes are being transmitted between hosts. Most insects transmit the infectious microbes by biting the host. Below is a list of common insects and the pathogen/disease they may carry.

Common NameSpeciesPathogenDisease(s)
Black flySimulium spp.Onchocerca volvulusOnchocerciasis
FleaXenopsylla cheopisRickettsia typhiMurine typhus
Yersinia pestisPlague
Kissing bugTriatoma spp.Trypanosoma cruziChagas disease
LousePediculus humanus humanusBartonella quintanaTrench fever
Borrelia recurrentisRelapsing fever
Rickettsia prowazekiiTyphus
MiteLeptotrombidium spp.Orientia tsutsugamushiScrub typhus
Liponyssoides sanguineusRickettsia akariRickettsialpox
MosquitoAedes spp., Haemagogus spp.Yellow fever virusYellow fever
Anopheles spp.Plasmodium falciparumMalaria
Culex pipiensWest Nile virusWest Nile disease
Sand flyPhlebotomus spp.Leishmania spp.Leishmaniasis
TickIxodes spp.Borrelia spp.Lyme disease
Dermacentor spp.Rickettsia rickettsiiRocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Tsetse flyGlossina spp.Trypanosoma bruceiAfrican trypanosomiasis


OpenStax Microbiology. Common Arthropod Vectors and Select Pathogens. Accessed November 15, 2019