Bruce V. Hofkin

Kenya

Research Interests


My primary research interest is to gain a better comprehension of vector-borne diseases in order to better understand both disease dynamics and to predict future disease occurrence. I am also interested in how such an understanding can be used to develop more efficient and focused means of disease control. In the past, much of my work centered on schistosomiasis. This important human disease is caused by infection with trematodes in the genus Schistosoma. More than 200 million people worldwide are believed to be infected, mostly in Africa. Larval development of the schistosome occurs in specific species of freshwater snails, and our research focused on the development of biological control strategies to reduce snail abundance, which might then, in turn, result in fewer human infections.

More recent work has been of a far more local nature, focusing on plague and arbovirus transmission in Central New Mexico. Currently, most work centers on the dynamics of West Nile Virus (WNV) transmission in Bernalillo County. Specifically, there are three mosquito species in Central New Mexico that regularly test positive for West Nile virus infection, and are consequently considered to be involved in transmission. Our goal is to identify which, if any, of these species functions as the primary vector in the sylvatic (bird-to-bird) cycle of WNV, and which, if any, is primarily responsible for bridge transmission to mammals of interest, such as humans and horses. It is our hope that such information might be useful to those interested in protecting humans, horses, and other species of interest from WNV infection.

Kenya