Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

World Health Day: Small Bites and Big Threats

Health + Wellness
World Health Day: Small Bites and Big Threats

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

——–

A dugong, also called a sea cow, swims with golden pilot jacks near Marsa Alam, Egypt, Red Sea. Alexis Rosenfeld / Getty Images

In 2010, world leaders agreed to 20 targets to protect Earth's biodiversity over the next decade. By 2020, none of them had been met. Now, the question is whether the world can do any better once new targets are set during the meeting of the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Kunming, China later this year.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Jan. 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

By Andrew Rosenberg

The first 24 hours of the administration of President Joe Biden were filled not only with ceremony, but also with real action. Executive orders and other directives were quickly signed. More actions have followed. All consequential. Many provide a basis for not just undoing actions of the previous administration, but also making real advances in public policy to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

A first-of-its-kind study has examined the satellite record to see how the climate crisis is impacting all of the planet's ice.

Read More Show Less
Probiotic rich foods. bit245 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Ana Maldonado-Contreras

Takeaways

  • Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria that are vital for keeping you healthy.
  • Some of these microbes help to regulate the immune system.
  • New research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, shows the presence of certain bacteria in the gut may reveal which people are more vulnerable to a more severe case of COVID-19.

You may not know it, but you have an army of microbes living inside of you that are essential for fighting off threats, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Michael Mann photo inset by Joshua Yospyn.

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

The New Climate War: the fight to take back our planet is the latest must-read book by leading climate change scientist and communicator Michael Mann of Penn State University.

Read More Show Less