Monday Night Mystery: Test Your Medical Entomology Skills

A questing tick.

For tonight’s challenge we find out how much you know about medical entomology, the section of insect science devoted to human health. These questions are taken from the IB109 “Insects & People” class here at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

I will award one point per question to the first person to correctly answer each. The cumulative points winner for the month of September will win their choice of 1) any 8×10-sized print from my insect photography galleries, or 2) a guest post here on Myrmecos.

Good luck!


1. What is an arbovirus?
a. a virus that is carried by a tree-dwelling mosquito
b. a virus that is carried by any arthropod
c. a virus that is carried specifically by a mosquito
d. a virus that infects arthropods

2. How many people are estimated globally to be infected with Dengue every year?
a. 5,000-10,000
b. 50,000-100,000
c. 5,000,000-10,000,000
d. 50,000,000-100,000,000

3. Which of the following might be mis-diagnosed for delusory parasitosis?
a. fowl mite infestation
b. spider mite infestation
c. deer tick bites
d. arachnophobia

4. What is the most serious health risk presented by cockroaches?
a. they carry disease organisms on their bodies
b. they contaminate food with quinone defense secretions
c. they nibble nails and hair of sleeping humans
d. they shed allergens into the environment

5. Which arthropod-borne disease killed many of Napoleon’s soldiers on his 1812 march towards Moscow?
a. bubonic plague
b. typhus
c. dengue
d. Lyme disease

6. West Nile virus is not normally a human pathogen. In nature, the virus circulates between mosquitoes and:
a. birds
b. horses
c. rodents
d. amphibians

7. If you are diagnosed with Pediculosis, what sort of treatment might help?
a. there is no treatment
b. antibiotics
c. a fine-toothed comb
d. bed nets

8. Of the following places, where are you most likely to catch plague today?
a. Florida
b. New Mexico
c. Colombia
d. Nigeria

9. Which of the following arthropods is most likely to be monophagous?
a. louse
b. flea
c. mosquito
d. tick

10. The accidental arrival of Aedes albopictus to the United States in the 1980s increased the chances that North Americans will experience outbreaks of:
a. Malaria
b. Murine Typhus
c. Plague
d. Dengue

17 thoughts on “Monday Night Mystery: Test Your Medical Entomology Skills”

  1. I’ll try to do better: 1b, 2c, 3a, 4d, 5b (by lice), 6a (but also found in ticks, various mammal species, reptilian species, including alligators and crocodiles, and in amphibians, though they are not important factors in the transmission), 7c (but also shaving and some silicone based lotions), 8b (but the Ituri district of Congo had one hundred deaths in 2006, more than New Mexico, and Madagascar had 18 in 2008), 9d (ticks satisfy all their dietary requirement with blood, so do adult flea but not flea larvae, mosquitoes eat many things including nectar, females take a blood meal, while larvae feed on algae and bacteria, most lice are scavengers), 10d (also West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis, it can also be a vector of Yellow fever virus, Chikungunya fever and filarial nematodes).

  2. Michael Suttkus, II

    3: All of the above. I mean, if you’re a bad enough doctor, who knows what you might mistake for delusional parasitosis.

    4: The most serious health risk posed by cockroaches isn’t even one of the given choices! The most serious health risk posted by cockroaches is that when they fall on you, you scream and jump back, cracking your head on something behind you.

    9: Mosquitoes that bite me are highly unlikely to bite anyone else after I slap them.

    10: Accidental arrival… or part of the conspiracy! I have evidence! They can’t suppress it forever!

  3. The only thing worse than taking a multiple guess test is writing one (but they are easy to mark). Here’s my guesses and I’m willing to argue with you after you return the exams if I don’t get the mark I need for med school.

    1 b – arthropod borne virus
    2 d is a commonly cited guess, but I don’t think anyone really knows
    3 a is most likely (but scabies is commonly associated with both real and mis-diagnosed DP). I think Michael’s point is right though.
    4 d (as far as we know allergies are the worst)
    5 b – I’m sure this is true (but I’m also sure there is no real proof).
    6 a – birds appear to be the primary reservoir and it is a dead end in people (too literally some times)
    7 c – but I’m disappointed that LouseBuster wasn’t a choice
    8 b – New Mexico although Colorado may be winning this year
    9 a – can’t argue here, there are very few monophagous ticks or fleas
    10 – d for dengue

  4. 1b, 2d, 3b (Scabies is a better fit but if any of you have ever worked with drosophila in a lab infested with mites you’d guess this too), 4d, 5b, 6a, 7c, 8b, 9a, 10d

  5. 1b, 2d, 3b (Scabies is a better fit but if any of you have ever worked with drosophila in a lab infested with mites you’d guess this too), 4d, 5b, 6a, 7c, 8b, 9a, 10d

  6. Pingback: Answer to the Monday Medical Mystery Exam – MYRMECOS - Insect Photography - Insect Pictures

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