Press Releases

2006 Releases

Andrew Spielman, Professor of Tropical Public Health and International Mosquito Expert, Dies

For immediate release: December 20, 2006

Boston, MA -- Andrew Spielman, an expert in vector-borne diseases and professor of tropical health in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), died this morning of a sudden illness. He was 76 years old.

Spielman, a longtime faculty member, first came to the School in 1959 as an instructor in the Department of Tropical Public Health, later the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. He was one of the world's foremost experts on vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue which impose such a heavy disease burden on populations in tropical countries. He authored a large body of work composed of more than 360 publications on the ecology, physiology and public health impact of the insects and ticks that burden human health. He received numerous international awards for his scientific contributions and professional services. Recently, he garnered popular recognition for his book, Mosquito, A Natural History of Our Most Persistent and Deadly Foe (Hyperion, 2001). In his work he described the connection between genetics, physiology, microbiology, immunology, and human behavior, and the profound effects of ecological disturbances caused by human activity.

"He had a singularly holistic view of the balance between man and mosquitoes and between the biology and ecology of both, " said Barry R. Bloom, Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Spielman’s work in Massachusetts included investigations into the transmission and impact of eastern equine encephalitis virus, West Nile virus and Lyme disease, and he applied his training locally as a member of the mosquito advisory committee of Needham, MA, where he lived.

Spielman was also a Faculty Associate in the Center for International Development at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and was head of the Laboratory of Public Health Entomology at HSPH. He had served on numerous advisory boards, including that of the UN Millennium Task Force for Malaria and on the editorial boards of The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Parasitology Research.

Spielman received his B.S. from Colorado College and his Sc.D. from the School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University. He received numerous honors including the Hoogstraal Medal of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Medal of Honor of the American Mosquito Control Association, and many student awards for Excellence in Teaching at Harvard.

He is survived by his wife Judy and their children David, Deborah and Sue Spielman, seven grandchildren, and by a brother, Herbert Spielman.

For further information contact: Robin Herman,,      (617) 432-4752