As a Branco Weiss Fellow, Dr Adelaide Miarinjara will work to understand the epidemiological role of flea species, mainly the human flea, Pulex irritans, to provide a better framework about in plague transmission, which will be ultimately used to improve public health responses against the disease.
- Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow. Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, Georgia USA, January 2021-present.
- Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow. Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Montana USA, January 2018-December 2020
- Research Engineer. Unité d’Entomologie Médicale, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar. Madagascar, 2017
- PhD student intern. Unité d’Entomologie Médicale, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Madagascar, 2014–2017
- Master student intern. Unité d’Entomologie Médicale, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Madagascar, 2013-2014
- Undergraduate studies at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, 2009-2013, and University of Mahajanga, Madagascar, 2006-2008
- ACME Future Leaders Fellowship in International Medical Entomology, 2019
- NIH Intramural Visiting Fellow Program Award, 2017
- NewsMada: Peste: découverte d’une nouvelle espèce de puce vectrice (in French)
Branco Weiss Fellow Since
Medical entomology, bacteriology, infectious disease ecology
Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, USA
Plague is a zoonotic fatal disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Humans can be contaminated by infected flea bites and consequently develop the bubonic plague. However, not all flea species are able to transmit the plague bacterium. Although the role of principal Y. pestis vector has been attributed to fleas parasitizing rodents, the human flea, Pulex irritans is the most abundant flea species collected in human dwellings during plague outbreaks. Furthermore, in a country like Madagascar declaring most of the worldwide plague cases, P. irritans has been found naturally infected by the plague bacterium, during plague epidemics. Nonetheless, without vectorial capacity studies, the human flea is still considered as a non-vector and receives very little attention from public health policy makers.
The aim of Dr Adelaide Miarinjara research is to determine the vectorial capacity of the human flea, Pulex irritans, in the Madagascar plague context. Vectorial capacity includes the study of the vector’s capability to transmit a pathogen in laboratory conditions, as well as the comprehension of relevant ecological and behavioral traits of the vector that relate to its role in a particular epidemiological context. Results from this project will fill the gap about the uncertain but potential role of the human flea during past and current plague epidemics. More importantly, the results will help to implement a more accurate disease risk evaluation and management, as well as the diffusion of a more accurate community health awareness message in countries like Madagascar.