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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid