Welcome message from President

Kyoko SAWABE, PhD

(Department of Medical Entomology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan)

President of Medical Entomology and Zoology in Japan, 2018-

I am going to take on the role of the 23rd president of the Japan Society of Medical Entomology and Zoology. Together with the secretary, I am willing to devote myself to the management and development of the society. Thank you for your support and cooperation.

Medical Entomology and Zoology is an academic discipline that studies animals that directly or indirectly affect the physical and mental health of humans, and involves studying the onset mechanism, prevention, and treatment of diseases these animals cause. The effect of infections such as severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS), a tick-borne disease reported to have caused deaths in 2011 and is still prevalent in western Japan, and dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease detected in infected patients in Japan for the first time in about 70 years in 2014, are still fresh in memory. There are a lot of arthropods that transmit pathogens, including horseflies, biting midges, sandflies, and sucking lice in addition to mosquitoes and ticks. There are many other injurious effects caused by medically important insects and animals. For example, it is known that dermatitis and skin damage are caused by biting and stinging insects, there are spiders and scorpions with lethal venom while bees and centipedes can cause anaphylactic shock. Presence of scorpions and spiders, as well as ants and woodlice in extremely large numbers add to the discomfort of humans, and there are cases when chironomids and house dust mites have caused asthma or hives. Medical Entomology and Zoology also includes the study of the snails that act as intermediate hosts for parasites, mice and pigeons that transmit infectious disease, and bark beetles and cockroaches that cause economic damage to timber and grain.

The Japan Society of Medical Entomology and Zoology began its activities in 1943 as the Colloquium for Sanitary Insects, and it held its 70th annual meeting in 2018. The globalization characterized by the flow of people and goods in recent years has accelerated the introduction of exotic infectious diseases in Japan. In addition, global warming and changes in the lifestyle of Japanese have increased both the number of cases and the types of damage caused by native species. Although the type of damage has changed greatly since the establishment of the society, we have been making international contributions and promoting collaboration with other fields through a wide range of support activities against a lot of medically important animals ranging from basic science in taxonomy, genetics, physiology, ecology, molecular biology and so on, to applied science including clarifying the mechanism of pathogen transmission, responses to various types of damage from a medical point of view, and the development and implementation of vector control methods.

Publishing academic journals is the most important aspect of the society’s activities. As part of activities in the 23rd term, we are working on further enhancing 1) the English journal to satisfy needs abroad, and the Japanese journal to provide useful information for local surveys in Japan. 2) We will advance the digitization of editing, and consider the introduction of a simple posting and peer review system. We are also planning impactful special issues more than ever, and will provide more attractive journals to you. In addition, 3) we are promoting gender equality, and supporting barrier-free society activities and research activities for all postdoctoral fellows and also students regardless of gender. We welcome the participation of young researchers and we will act actively to expand the base of our membership. The results and information from such studies are published in the journal “Medical Entomology and Zoology”, and you can access this on the website. We would be grateful if we could deepen the understanding of people and their interest in the field of Medical Entomology and Zoology through conferences presentations, academic journals, and the website.