Infectious Disease: Evolving Challenges to Human Health
VECTOR CONTROL & MALARIA

Controlling Vector-Borne Diseases

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Lyme disease, West Nile virus, river blindness, Dengue fever, leishmaniases and Chagas disease spread through the bites of insects, such as ticks, flies, and mosquitoes.

Chagas
Chagas disease was once a leading cause of sudden death and heart disease among young men in South America. The disease is transmitted by blood-sucking insects that live in homes. Since 1991, a multinational household spraying and blood-screening program has effectively controlled Chagas in Uruguay and Chile, and the risk of infection has also been reduced in Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil.

Photo of kissing bug

Chagas Disease

Chagas disease is transmitted by blood-sucking insects that live exclusively in homes. (Image courtesy of WHO/TDR/Stammers)

River Blindness
In many African countries, black flies transmit a worm that causes permanent blindness in people of all ages. Although the worms can live for 18 years, a 20-year insecticide program against black flies in eleven countries has potentially eliminated them. Combined with mass use of anti-worm medication, the insecticide program effectively controlled the disease. The greatest risk in these regions is re-introduction of the parasite by infected people from other regions.

Photo of black fly

Black Fly

In many African countries, black flies transmit a water-borne worm that causes permanent blindness in people of all ages. (Image courtesy of WHO/TDR/Stammers)


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