World Health Day 2014: Small Bites, Big Threats


Vector-borne diseases are infectious diseases spread by intermediate organisms, such as insects and snails that transmit viruses, parasites, and bacteria to humans. These diseases cause a high burden of illness and death for individuals, their families, and communities, especially in poorer countries; they lead to school absenteeism, worsening of poverty, a negative impact on the economic productivity, high health costs and overloaded health systems in countries. Vector-borne diseases exercising significant impact in the Americas are mainly malaria, dengue, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and trachoma. Vector-borne diseases is the theme for World Health Day 2014 which is celebrated every 7th of April.

Protect yourself and your environment
Vector-borne diseases can be prevented by

  • Wearing clothing that acts as a barrier to exposure to bites
  • Using mechanisms to keep vectors out of houses such as screens on doors, windows, and eaves
  • Reducing breeding sites near houses or in communities by:
    • covering water storage containers,
    • eliminating puddles and drainage of places where water accumulates,
    • eliminating unusable containers where water pools, and
    • controlling garbage in yards and gardens.