10 vector-borne diseases that put the population of the Americas at risk

7 Apr 2014

10 vector-borne diseases that put the population of the Americas at risk

Dengue, malaria and Chagas disease. Leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis and yellow fever. Chikungunya, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and West Nile virus. These are 10 vector-borne diseases carried by mosquitoes, ticks, flies and other vectors that put one of every two people in the Americas at risk.

Dengue: a potentially lethal disease transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes

  • Dengue and theAedes aegypti mosquito are present in all countries of the Americas except Canada and continental Chile. Uruguay has no cases but does haveAe. Aegypti
  • About 500 million people are at risk in the Americas
  • Incidence rose from 16 cases per 100,000 people to 218 cases per 100,000 between 1980 and 2000-2010.
  • In 2013 (an epidemic year) there were 2.3 million cases (430.8 per 100,000) and 1,280 deaths in the hemisphere.

See Dengue fact sheet

Malaria: caused by the Plasmodium parasite, transmitted through bites of Anopheles mosquitoes

  • Present in 21 countries of the Americas
  • 145 million people in the region at risk of contracting the disease
  • Cases declined 60% and deaths 72% between 2000 and 2012
  • Argentina, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Paraguay are in the process of eliminating malaria

See Malaria fact sheet

Chagas: a parasitic disease caused by T. cruzi and transmitted mainly through the bites of the so-called "kissing bug"

  • Present in 21 countries of the Americas
  • 65 million people in the region live in areas of exposure
  • An estimated 6-8 million people are infected in the region
  • Each year, an average 28,000 cases are reported, and 8,000 newborns become infected in the Americas

See Chagas fact sheet

Leishmaniasis: caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania, transmitted through mosquito bites

  • Present in 19 countries of the Americas
  •  4 of the 10 countries in the world that report 75% of all cutaneous cases are in the Americas: Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Nicaragua
  • An average 60,000 cases of cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis are diagnosed each year in the Americas, and 4,000 visceral cases, with a case fatality rate of 7%.

See Leishmaniasis fact sheet

Schistosomiasis: a chronic parasitic infection caused by small worms

  • In the Americas, nearly 1.6 million children need preventive medication
  • Endemic in Brazil, Venezuela, Suriname and Santa Lucia
  • Suriname and Santa Lucia are close to interrupting transmission
  • Available information indicates transmission has been interrupted in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Montserrat, Antigua, Martinique and Guadaloupe

See Schistosomiasis fact sheet

Yellow fever: an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes

  • Globally there are some 200,000 cases yearly, causing 30,000 deaths
  • From 2000 to 2013, more than 1,100 confirmed cases were reported in the Americas
  • Cases were reported from 13 countries in this hemisphere
  • From 1985 to 2012, 95% of all cases in the region were reported by Peru (54%), Bolivia (18%), Brazil (16%), and Colombia (7%).

See Yellow fever fact sheet

Chikungunya: a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes

  • Found for the first time in the Americas in December 2013
  • By March 2014, had spread to Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barthelemy, St Martin/St Maarten. Aruba has reported one imported case
  • More than 15,000 suspected cases have been reported in the Caribbean.

See Chikungunya fact sheet

Lymphatic filariasis: a parasitic infection caused by worms and transmitted by Culex mosquitoes in the Americas

  • Some 13.4 million people in the Americas are at risk of infection, 80% of them in Haiti
  • Endemic in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Haiti
  • Guyana, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic provide mass administration of donated drugs for the disease
  • Brazil has eliminated it in six states, with part of the metropolitan area of Recife now the only active area

See Lymphatic filariasis fact sheet

Onchocerciasis(river blindness): a parasitic disease transmitted by black flies

  • Blindness from onchocersiasis has been eliminated in the Americas since 1995
  • Colombia became the first country in the world to achieve verification of elimination of onchocerciasis transmission in 2013.
  • Ecuador submitted a request for verification of elimination to PAHO/WHO in 2013

See Onchocersiasis fact sheet

West Nile virus: transmitted to people primarily through the bite of infected mosquitoes.

  • Eight in 10 people who become infected with WNV show no symptoms
  • 286 people in the United States died of WNV in 2012 (CDC)
  • Preliminary data for 2013 indicate over 1,200 cases of neuroinvasive disease and 114 deaths due to WNV

See West Nile virus fact sheet