Quantcast

World Health Day: Small Bites and Big Threats

Health + Wellness

Today is World Health Day, which is celebrated on April 7 of each year to mark the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948 and to encourage individuals to engage in activities that can lead to better health.

The topic for World Health Day 2014 is vector-borne disease. What are vectors and vector-borne diseases? WHO defines vectors as “organisms that transmit pathogens and parasites from one infected person (or animal) to another. Vector-borne diseases are illnesses caused by these pathogens and parasites in human populations.”

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Think mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies. Think West Nile and malaria.

In fact, malaria is the most deadly vector-borne disease, causing 660,000 deaths in 2010. Globalization, along with environmental changes like climate change, is impacting the transmissions of these diseases, causing them to appear in previously unaffected areas. Currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vector-borne diseases account for an estimated 17 percent of the global burden of all infectious diseases.

Through the campaign WHO aims for the following:

  • Families living in areas where diseases are transmitted by vectors know how to protect themselves
  • Travelers know how to protect themselves from vectors and vector-borne diseases when travelling to countries where these pose a health threat
  • In countries where vector-borne diseases are a public health problem, ministries of health put in place measures to improve the protection of their populations
  • In countries where vector-borne diseases are an emerging threat, health authorities work with environmental and relevant authorities locally and in neighboring countries to improve integrated surveillance of vectors and to take measures to prevent their proliferation

Pan American Health Organization outlines how you can protect yourself and your environment from vector-borne diseases:

  • Wear clothing that acts as a barrier to exposure to bites
  • Use mechanisms to keep vectors out of houses such as screens on doors, windows and eaves
  • Reduce breeding sites near houses or in communities by:

  1. covering water storage containers
  2. eliminating puddles and drainage of places where water accumulates
  3. eliminating unusable containers where water pools
  4. controlling garbage in yards and gardens

——–

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Mosquito Spraying Ineffective and Toxic to Wildlife and Humans

Effects of Climate Change on the Spread of West Nile Virus

Evidence Shows Warming Climate Will Worsen Malaria Epidemic

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A wild Woodland Bison walks in the Arctic wilderness. RyersonClark / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Paul Brown

Releasing herds of large animals onto the tundra − rewilding the Arctic − to create vast grasslands could slow down global heating by storing carbon and preserving the permafrost, UK scientists say.

Read More
Insects play a vital role in ecosystems and humans are particularly dependent on them for food. Dmitry Grigoriev / Unsplash

By Ajit Niranjan

Seven 'no-regret' actions could rescue insects on the road to extinction, a new roadmap for conservation says, helping ecosystems even where a lack of research means scientists cannot prove benefits to individual species.

Read More
Sponsored
Visitors to the Hollywood & Highland mall in Hollywood wear face masks on Jan. 27 . Five people in the U.S. have tested positive for the deadly strain of Coronavirus, one each in Washington, Illinois and Arizona, and two in Southern California, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

As a new coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, concerns have emerged that Trump administration cuts to science and health agencies have hampered the U.S. ability to respond.

Read More
Workers evacuate the Lonja del Comercio (Commerce Market) in Havana, Cuba after an earthquake rattled the island Tuesday. ADALBERTO ROQUE / AFP via Getty Images

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake shook the Caribbean Tuesday, rattling people from Miami to Mexico.

Read More
A roller coaster on the Jersey Shore flooded after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Hurricane_Sandy_New_Jersey_Pier.jpg: Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen / U.S. Air Force / New Jersey National Guard / CC BY 2.0

New Jersey will be the first state in the U.S. to require builders to take the climate crisis into consideration before seeking permission for a project.

Read More