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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More