NEWS

2014-04-07 | News
World Health Day 2014: Preventing vector-borne diseases “Small bite, big threat”

The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office (CO) in Armenia organized a press conference together with the Ministry of Health on the occasion of the World Health Day. This World Health Day – 7 April – the World Health Organization (WHO) is highlighting the serious and increasing threat of vector-borne diseases, with the slogan “Small bite, big threat”.

More than half the world’s population is at risk from diseases such as malaria, dengue, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, schistosomiasis, and yellow fever, carried by mosquitoes, flies, ticks, water snails and other vectors. Every year, more than one billion people are infected and more than one million die from vector-borne diseases.

The Organization also emphasizes that these diseases are entirely preventable. Newly published A global brief on vector-borne diseases outlines steps that governments, community groups and families can all take to protect people from infection.
“There is a clear warning signal to the European Region that diseases carried by vectors may spread and intensify in the years ahead. This is not the time to lower our guard,” mentioned Zsuzsanna Jacab, the WHO Regional Director for Europe.

Vector-borne diseases affect the poorest populations, particularly where there is a lack of access to adequate housing, safe drinking water and sanitation. Malnourished people and those with weakened immunity are especially susceptible.
  
Within the past two decades, many important vector-borne diseases have also re-emerged or spread to new parts of the world. Environmental changes, a massive increase in international travel and trade, changes in agricultural practices and rapid unplanned urbanization are causing an increase in the number and spread of many vectors worldwide and making new groups of people, notably tourists and business travellers, vulnerable.

On World Health Day 2014, WHO is calling for a renewed focus on vector control and better provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene. “The overall goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the threat posed by vectors and vector-borne diseases and to encourage families and communities to take action to protect themselves,” said Tatul Hakobyan, the Head of the WHO CO in Armenia.

For more information about this year’s World Health Day: www.who.int/world-health-day

About World Health Day
World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary pf the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. Each year, a theme is selected to highlight a priority area of public health concern.

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