News / Health

Global Threat of Vector-borne Diseases Grows

FILE - Vehicles move past Pakistani day laborers sleeping under a mosquito net in the middle of a road in Islamabad, Pakistan.
FILE - Vehicles move past Pakistani day laborers sleeping under a mosquito net in the middle of a road in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations and international agencies are warning more than half the world’s population is at risk from the growing threat of vector borne diseases.  In advance of World Health Day, the agencies are urging nations to act to contain these often fatal, debilitating diseases.
 
One bite of a mosquito, a sandfly, a blackfly or a tick can be more than annoying. It can be fatal. 
 
Every year, the World Health Organization reports, more than one billion people are infected and more than one million die from vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue, Lyme disease, and yellow fever.
 
The WHO is focusing on the threat posed by dengue, which it says is the most rapidly spreading vector-borne disease in the world. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is also campaigning to get governments to address what it calls a silent disaster.
 
Red Cross Senior Emergency Health Officer Amanda McClelland said dengue is a neglected disease, which mainly affects the poorest, most vulnerable members of society.
 
“We have seen the expansion of dengue from 15,000 cases in 1960 to over 380-, 390 million possible cases right now...  Families that are already close to the poverty line, families that are already affected by heavy disease burdens cannot afford to get this disease. And, they cannot afford for multiple people in their families to get this disease. And this is why the Red Cross is focusing specifically on dengue for the next 12 months and beyond,” said McClelland. 
 
The World Health Organization says during the past 50 years, the disease has spread to more than 100 countries, putting more than 2.5 billion people at risk.  About 75 percent of those at risk are found in the Asia-Pacific region. 
 
Meanwhile, WHO Vector Ecology and Neglected Tropical Diseases Department Director Raman Velayudhan notes, even developed countries such as those in Europe, Australia, and the United States are at risk from this vector-borne disease.
 
Velayudhan told VOA the spread of dengue is caused by environmental changes and increased international travel. He said the free movement of people and goods in Europe and elsewhere also enables the free movement of mosquitoes and other vectors.
 
"In terms of climate change, essentially we do not have strong scientific bases yet to establish that. But having said that, theoretically any increase in temperature helps multiplication of mosquitoes and the virus within the body of the mosquito. So, for example, the mosquito life-cycle may take 20 days when the temperature is 15 degrees, but when the temperature reaches 25 degrees, it will hatch in seven days,” said Velayudhan. 
 
Dengue is a severe flu-like illness with no vaccine or cure.  But, the WHO and the Red Cross say, the disease can be managed and prevented by using insecticide-treated mosquito nets, improved sanitation and the reduction of mosquito breeding sites.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
April 07, 2014 4:30 PM
Pleace to save population of diaseases transmitted

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid