Vectors - Big Threat of The Small Bite

"Vectors" are small living organisms such as mosquitoes, ticks, triatomine bugs, sandflies, and blackflies that carry the germs of various diseases and they spread the disease from one person to another person. They can infect a person at home or while travelling and is responsible for more than one million people die from vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis and yellow fever.

Many more people are left with chronic illness and disabilities as a result of infection. 

Its necessary to create an awareness about these vector borne diseases, as the steps required to prevent them are very simple, but largely unknown to people. In this video by WHO, the aim is to make people aware about the Big Threat from the Small Bits of vectors. 

List of the most important Vectors and the diseases spread by them : 

  • Aedes
    • Dengue fever
    • Rift Valley fever
    • Yellow fever
    • Chikungunya
  • Anopheles
    • Malaria
  • Culex
    • Japanese encephalitis
    • Lymphatic filariasis
    • West Nile fever
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Sandfly fever (phelebotomus fever)
  • Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
  • Lyme disease
  • Relapsing fever (borreliosis)
  • Rickettsial diseases (spotted fever and Q fever)
  • Tick-borne encephalitis
  • Tularaemia
Triatomine bugs
  • Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis)
Tsetse flies
  • Sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis)
  • Plague (transmitted by fleas from rats to humans)
  • Rickettsiosis
Black flies
  • Onchocerciasis (river blindness)
Aquatic snails
  • Schistosomiasis (bilharziasis)


Simple steps to prevent Vector Borne Disease: 

  • Use Insect Repellant on exposed skin and clothes.
  • Tick checks after outdoor activity and within 36 hours of exposure. 
  • Removing Tick proptly may reduce the risk of transmission, though may not guarantee.
  • If you are exposed to animals such as Cats, dogs, mice, cattle which can host vectors, do Tick check immediately
  • Avoid waking in large woody and grassy areas. 
  • Use mosquito nets and screens where ever possible. 
  • Minimize exposed skin surface after dark
  • Avoid swimming or wading in outdoor water
  • Bath and wash hair within 2 hours of spending time in high risk areas
  • Wear long sleeves and trousers
  • Get vaccinated to known vector diseases according to your area of travel.
  • Wear light coloured clothings while going outdoors. 
  • If you move in grassy or wood outdoors, tuck your pents in your shoes to minimize exposure of bare skin. 
  • Keep grass mowed and remove leaf litter and wood piles