Infectious diseases transmitted by vectors assume great importance due to various factors ranging from globalization, to urbanization processes, to climate change. In addition to the historical plagues such as malaria and leishmania (diseases now under study both for drug resistance and for basic and translational research), increasing attention is now paid to emerging diseases such as dengue, zika and chikungunya. Among the infections transmitted by arthropods, the role of bacteria such as rickettsiae should not be forgotten.
In addition to the study of viruses, bacteria and protozoa, which is an integral part of the historical and current experience of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS, the National Institute of Health in Italy), it is particularly important to re-evaluate the role of medical entomology, which represents a very valuable niche for the ISS. Multidisciplinary skills allow, for example, the study of vectorial competence of arthropods that play a fundamental role in the transmission of these infections.
Finally, zoonotic infections, for example, leptospirosis, and emerging infections, such as those related to possible terrorist attacks, find coverage in the activities of the ISS.