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World Health Day 2014: Taking a bite out of vector-borne diseases

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April 7 not only celebrates National Beer Day and No Housework Day, it also commemorates the founding of a global health organization. On this day in 1948, the World Health Organization's (WHO) Constitution was launched. World Heath Day is an event observed each year on April 7.

World Health Day 20114

World Heath Day also raises awareness about a public health issue. This year's World Health Day theme is "Small Bite, Big Threat" regarding vector-borne diseases. According to the WHO, "vectors are organisms that transmit pathogens and parasites from one infected person (or animal) to another." They are commonly found in tropical areas and in areas without safe drinking water and sanitation and are spread by mosquitoes, ticks, bugs, freshwater snails and flies.

Over 1 million people die each year from vector-borne diseases including malaria, dengue, lyme disease, yellow fever and Chagas disease, to name a few. It is estimated that over 600,000 people died in 2012 from malaria, the most deadly vector-borne disease. Nearly half of the world's population is at risk from dengue, a mosquito-borne viral infection that can also be fatal.

Please visit the WHO website for more information on vector-borne diseases.

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