At the end of 2020 — a year that was dominated by the emergence of coronavirus as a global health crisis — UW–Madison added global health as a new major, leading to a bachelor-of-science degree. It combines studies in bioscience with public health, and so it lives, naturally … in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ Department of Entomology. At first this may seem odd, but when you think about it, it still seems odd. When people call COVID-19 “a bug,” they mean it’s an illness, not an insect. The key is Susan Paskewitz, who led the effort to create the major. She directed the Upper Midwestern Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease and was also chair of the UW’s Department of Entomology. After all, insects carry a lot of the things that, well, plague us: mosquitos with malaria and yellow fever; ticks with Lyme disease; and, of course, fleas with plague. So there are clearly crossovers between both kinds of bugs.

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