April 7th marked the 66th anniversary of the World Health Organization- WHO; the leader and coordinator of health within the United Nations system. They provide information on global health issues, help shape research agendas, set standards for health all across the globe, and educate people on how to practice better health.
Each year, they select one pressing health topic and create a campaign to raise awareness on the issue along with commemorating the formation of WHO. This year Vector-borne diseases are the focus with a tag line that reads, “Small Bite: Big Threat.”
What are Vector-borne diseases?
Vector-borne diseases are illness caused by parasites and pathogens, and are spread through the bite of a mosquito, tick, or other blood feeding insects or arachnids. Vector-borne diseases include:
• Lyme disease
• Yellow fever
• Japanese encephalitis
Why you should care: If you plan on traveling overseas this summer, find out what vector- borne diseases are common in the area and get vaccinated. It can save your life. You don’t have to travel far to come in contact with Lyme disease, as it is very common in Pennsylvania. Lyme disease is contracted through the bite of a diseased tick. Ticks are extremely hard to see, but a common sign of being bit is a bulls-eye type rash. If gone untreated, Lyme disease can cause arthritis, pain, and exhaustion. It can also spread to the heart and central nervous system.
Common Symptoms of Lyme disease:
• Muscle and joint pain
For more information on Lyme disease, check out this CDC link! http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/
Before you travel, don’t forget your boarding pass from World Health Organization! There are a lot of helpful simple measures that you can use to protect yourself and your family.
Written by Erica Vasquez, Peer Educator