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Vector-borne Diseases

The Union health ministry has sounded the alarm on a vector-borne disease outbreak with record rainfall, Vector-borne Diseases..


The Union health ministry has sounded the alarm on a vector-borne disease outbreak with record rainfall in North India.

Key facts

  • Vector-borne diseases account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than 700 000 deaths annually. They can be caused by either parasites, bacteria or viruses.
  • Malaria is a parasitic infection transmitted by Anopheline mosquitoes. It causes an estimated 219 million cases globally, and results in more than 400,000 deaths every year. Most of the deaths occur in children under the age of 5 years.
  • Dengue is the most prevalent viral infection transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. More than 3.9 billion people in over 129 countries are at risk of contracting dengue, with an estimated 96 million symptomatic cases and an estimated 40,000 deaths every year.
  • Other viral diseases transmitted by vectors include chikungunya fever, Zika virus fever, yellow fever, West Nile fever, Japanese encephalitis (all transmitted by mosquitoes), tick-borne encephalitis (transmitted by ticks).
  • Many of vector-borne diseases are preventable, through protective measures, and community mobilisation.

What are Vectors?

  • Vectors are central to the transmission of certain diseases.
  • A vector picks up the infection from the environment or an infected host and then transfers it to a new one.
  • Vector-borne transmission takes place from biological or mechanical vectors.
  • Biological vectors are organisms within the bodies of which the pathogens might multiply.
  • The infection is transferred when these vectors feed from the host by biting.
  • Mechanical vector-borne diseases are transmitted through physical contact when the vector defecates or comes in contact with the host’s skin.

Vector-borne Diseases in India

  • Around 2 million malaria cases are recorded every year in India.
  • Most of the rural areas in the country are prone to Malaria.
  • The regions of Orrisa, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Chattisgarh have many cases of malaria every year.
  • The World Bank Supported Vector-borne disease Control Project to be implemented in most of the endemic states.
  • It will help the Government to prevent and treat malaria in the poorest regions. 
  • This project uses advanced technologies and medicines for the prevention of Malaria.

Prevention of Vector-borne Diseases

Vector-Borne diseases can be prevented in the following ways:

  • Vaccines should be developed for protection against disease-causing viruses.
  • Insect repellants such as DEET or Permethrin can be applied to the skin and clothes respectively.
  • Tick checks should be performed after exposure to dogs, cats, cattle, and mice.
  • Use nets while sleeping to protect against mosquitoes.
  • Wash and dry clothes after an outdoor visit for a long time.
  • Remove leaf litters and woodpiles from the surroundings.
  • Do not let stagnant water accumulate in the surroundings.
  • Use disinfectants to control infections caused by pests.

Way Forward

As Vector Borne disease is becoming a public health threat, it becomes necessary for a country to reduce its GHG Emissions as Climate change proves to be a major driver behind the expansion of such vectors.

Modelling future scenarios using state-of-the-art techniques that allow predictive future disease patterns or hotspots can be a useful tool to aid decision-makers in planning suitable and timely interventions.

FAQs related to vector-borne diseases and their prevention

What are vector-borne diseases?

Vector-borne diseases are illnesses caused by pathogens (parasites, bacteria, or viruses) that are transmitted to humans or animals through vectors, such as mosquitoes, ticks, or flies.

What are some common vector-borne diseases?

Common vector-borne diseases include malaria, dengue, chikungunya, Zika virus fever, yellow fever, West Nile fever, Japanese encephalitis, and tick-borne encephalitis.

How are vector-borne diseases transmitted?

Vector-borne diseases are transmitted when a vector (such as a mosquito or tick) bites an infected person or animal, acquires the pathogen, and then transmits it to a new host through subsequent bites.

Read also:- Measles

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