World Health Day 2014: Prevent Vector-Borne Diseases

World celebrate “World health Day” on 7th April every year since 1948. Every year a priority topic of public health interest is selected and highlighted. This year 2014, the World health Day topic is vector borne diseases, with the slogan of  “Small bit, big threat”.

What are vector borne diseases and vectors?

A vector is an organism (commonly an insect) that transmit a disease. Common vectors include mosquitoes, tics, bugs, flies, water snails etc. Some vector borne diseases are malaria, filaria, dengue, yellow fever, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, schistosomiasis, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis etc. Vector borne diseases are the one that spread infection from one person (or animal) to another and caused by pathogens and parasites. Vector borne diseases are commonly seen in tropical areas where safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities are not available.

Malaria causes death of as many as half to one million deaths every year, mostly in Africa and children are the worst sufferers. Currently dengue is the fastest spreading and growing vector borne disease with several fold increase in incidences in last few decades. Globalization of trade and travel as well as environmental problems such as climate change and urbanization are causing increased transmission of vector-borne diseases from one person to another. Vector borne diseases are appearing in countries where they were previously unknown.

What is the WHO goal for vector borne diseases?

WHO by emphasizing the importance of vector borne diseases aim to reduce transmission of vector borne diseases and to achieve “better protection from vector borne diseases”. The aim is to reduce vectors and vector borne diseases. One of the most important job in achieving the goal/aim is to make communities aware about the vector borne diseases and the danger they pose to them.

The aim of reducing vectors and vector borne diseases can be achieved by adapting following ways:

  • People living in areas where vector borne diseases are common and transmission is also common, should know how to protect themselves. Awareness program need to be coordinated by international, national and local level by various agencies.
  • Awareness among travelers traveling to an endemic area where  vector borne diseases are common. Travelers should know how to protect themselves.
  • In countries/regions where vector borne diseases are common and a public health problem, Governments should take measures to improve protection from the vectors and vector borne diseases.
  • In countries/regions where vector borne diseases are emerging as threat to public health governments should take measures to improve integrated surveillance of vectors and to take measures to prevent their spread.

Hence, do not ignore the small bite (of a mosquito), because it may be a big threat to your health and life. Stay protected from vectors and vector borne diseases. Protect yourself from vectors and teach others how to protect themselves.


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