Dr. Brad Blitvich
Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine
Brad Blitvich is a virologist who has spent more than 20 years studying mosquito-borne viruses, particularly those known as “flaviviruses”. Some flaviviruses such as West Nile virus, dengue virus and Zika virus have a wide host range because they infect both mosquitoes and other “hosts” (animals like humans, monkeys, cattle, rodents, and birds) when the mosquitoes take blood from those animals. Other flaviviruses have a narrow host range -- they only infect mosquitoes and are not passed to other animals even when mosquitoes take their blood. Still other flaviviruses only infect vertebrate animals and are not picked up by feeding mosquitoes. Much of Brad’s work has to do with improving our understanding of why these different viruses are or are not successful in moving between different hosts. Better understanding of that could potentially lead to methods to block transmission between mosquitoes, humans, and the animals we care about. Brad also does work with more immediate impact on public health, including developing better diagnostic tools for flaviviruses and helping to conduct the largest-ever study of the impact of mosquito-borne disease on human and animal health in Mexico. He has been at Iowa State since 2006.