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

vector-150

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