The Reemergence of Epidemic Vector Borne Diseases As Public Health Problems

The earliest indications that epidemic vector-borne diseases might reemerge came in the early 1970s. Subsequent warnings were ignored by public health officials and policy makers because of competing priorities for limited resources (Gubler 1980, 1987, 1989; IOM 1992). The 1980s ushered in a period with increased epidemic vector-borne disease activity associated with expanding geographic distribution of both the vectors and the pathogens via modern transportation and globalization. It was not until the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on emerging infectious diseases that policy makers took notice (IOM 1992), and not until after the 1994 plague epidemic in India that new resources were allocated to emerging infectious diseases (Fritz et al. 1996; WHO 1994).

Parasitic, bacterial, and viral pathogens may be transmitted by blood-sucking arthropods. Mosquitoes, which primarily transmit parasitic and viral diseases, are the most important arthropod vectors; ticks, which primarily transmit bacteria and viruses, are next in importance.

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