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Common vector-borne diseases and their prevention

Some of the most common vector-borne diseases and the best ways to protect yourself against them. Many infectious illnesses are vector-borne — that is, the transmission of the disease is indirect, through an insect or animal that transmits the infectious agent from some reservoir in nature to a human host.Many infectious illnesses are vector-borne — that is, the transmission of the disease is indirect, through an insect or animal that transmits the infectious agent from some reservoir in nature to a human host. Here are some of the most common vector-borne diseases listed by vector and the best ways to protect yourself against them.Disease:
  • Schistosomiasis (aka "Bilharzia", "snail fever", "Katayama fever")
  • Protection: Avoid swimming or consuming untreated water on rivers, lakes or ponds known to contain water snails on endemic areas.Disease:
  • River blindness (aka "Onchocerciasis")
  • Protection: Avoid visiting fast-flowing rivers on endemic areas. Use repellents containing DEET or permethrin. Public health efforts like the Onchocercariasis Control Programme (OCP) which involve the use of larvicides on rivers are at its peak on endemic countries.Disease:
  • Plague
  • Protection: Avoid contact with rat fleas. Environmental control with insecticides on infested areas. Don't allow family pets to roam in areas where plague is common.Disease:
  • Chikungunya
  • Dengue fever
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Lymphatic filariasis
  • Malaria
  • Rift Valley fever
  • West Nile fever
  • Yellow fever
  • Protection: Use repellents containing DEET or permethrin. Some mosquito species are more active during dusk and dawn. At night, use nets treated with repellents or insecticide while sleeping. Environmental control of breeding grounds: avoid leaving containers with still water.Disease:
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Sandfly fever (aka "Pappataci fever" or "three-day fever")
  • Protection: Use repellents containing DEET or permethrin. Sandflies are particularly active during dusk and dawn. At night, use nets treated with repellents or insecticide while sleeping. Environmental control of breeding grounds: avoid leaving containers with still water.Disease:
  • Crimean-Congo fever
  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Tick-borne encephalitis
  • Tularemia (aka "rabbit fever", "deer fly fever")
  • Typhus (aka "Jail fever")
  • Protection: Use repellents containing DEET or permethrin. When walking outdoors, use long sleeves, boots and socks. Check for ticks immediately after returning from a walk. Light colored clothes make ticks easily visible.Disease:
  • Chagas disease (aka "American trypanosomiasis")
  • Protection: Avoid contact with Kissing bugs. Repellents with DEET or permethrin may not be effective. At night, use nets treated with repellents or insecticide while sleeping. Avoid sleeping outdoors or on mudhouses on endemic areas.Disease:
  • Sleeping sickness (aka "African trypanosomiasis")
  • Protection: Use insect repellent and wear long-sleeve clothing on tsetse endemic areas.


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