Certification Program to Expand Response Capability for Vector-Borne Disease Outbreaks

Entomological Society of America will train and certify insect scientists to stand ready for CDC Emergency Response Teams

Entomological Society of America Certification CorporationAnnapolis, MD; July 19, 2017—Soon, the public health community will be better equipped to respond to outbreaks of diseases spread by mosquitoes and other arthropod vectors, thanks to a contract awarded to the Entomological Society of America Certification Corporation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over the course of the next year, the ESA Certification Corporation will train and certify approximately 30 entomologists to participate as entomological specialists on CDC Emergency Response Teams. Adding such expertise to the rapid-response groups will fill a critical void in the CDC’s capacity to guide vector control, an essential component of disease management.

“Medical and veterinary entomologists will ensure that outbreaks of vector-borne illnesses generate the needed entomological response to prevent further spreading of potentially harmful, and at times fatal, diseases—thus protecting public health,” says Zia Siddiqi, Ph.D., BCE, ESA Certification Corporation Board Chair.

Board Certified EntomologistFor nearly 50 years, the Board Certified Entomologist (BCE) program has provided a way for professional entomologists to distinguish their expertise in one of six specialty areas. For its contract with the CDC, the ESA Certification Corporation will leverage the existing framework of the BCE program to increase the number of BCEs specializing in medical and veterinary (MV) entomology, and they would then stand ready to be called on to serve on the CDC Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).

Two groups of experts in entomology will convene to review and update the BCE Core Exam and the MV Specialty Exam, bringing their content in line with the very latest in research and practice in the field. The ESA Certification Corporation will also develop a curriculum of self-study, webinar, and in-person training for candidates who enter the program. The certification exams will be conducted on the final day of the in-person workshop, which will take place in summer 2018 at a location to be determined.

“The work to be done as part of this contract will ensure that the BCE program remains as the premier program and continues to serve as the benchmark for entomologists worldwide, and it will fill a vital need for CDC CERT teams,” says Siddiqi. “ESA looks forward to working with the CDC on this initiative.”

The CDC created its Emergency Response Teams after lessons learned in the battle against Ebola in 2014, and the emergence of the Zika virus in 2016 highlighted the need for expertise in entomology when responding to outbreaks of vector-borne diseases. Other illnesses spread by arthropods include yellow fever, West Nile virus, malaria, chikungunya, and Lyme disease. The entomological profession is committed to reducing the impact of vector-borne diseases, among the three initiatives being pursued under the Grand Challenge Agenda for Entomology. Growth of the BCE medical and veterinary entomology pool will be a key step toward that goal.

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ABOUT: The Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has over 6,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, the Society stands ready as a non-partisan scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.

The ESA Certification Corporation operates two certification programs: Board Certified Entomologist, for professional and degreed entomologists, and Associate Certified Entomologist, for pest management professionals with strong training and experience in insect-related work. The BCE program, founded in the 1960s as the American Registry of Professional Entomologists, currently has more than 500 certified individuals. The ACE program was started in 2004 and has grown to more than 1,000 individuals currently certified. For more information, visit: http://www.entocert.org.