The Risk of Vector Borne Diseases

By Tucker Poux and James Fludgate

Volume 67, Issue I

Vector borne diseases have been becoming more and more relevant especially as of late. With the recent outbreaks of the Zika virus, we have decided to dive a little deeper into what vector borne diseases are and why they have been more prevalent to us in the United States. To learn more about the situation, we had an extensive interview with Mr. Durkin, a Briarcliff High School English teacher, who is an expert on the topic.

So what is a vector borne disease? They are diseases spread by insects (mainly

ticks and mosquitos) that transfer blood from the host of a virus into a victim. These include the Zika Virus, Dengue Fever, Malaria, the West Nile Virus, and many more harmful diseases. Each of these diseases have their own side effects, but all are dangerous to humans.

The reason that these diseases are spreading rapidly throughout the world is mainly due to climate change. Normally, insects that carry these diseases are unable to survive the harsh winters and overall cold temperatures up North of the Equator. But due to climate change, these areas are becoming warmer, allowing for the migration of these insects into areas that were otherwise too cold to populate.

What steps are being taken to prevent the spread of these diseases? According to Mr. Durkin, the government has been funding different studies in order to develop and counteract these diseases. However, the process as a whole has been slow. Some say that the government and worldwide health organizations should be putting in more of an effort to stop these diseases.

But you as an individual can do something to help this cause. The most important step in eradicating these diseases is educating the population. If more people know the dangers of these diseases, they will be more inclined to aid in the research of how to fight these diseases. To protect yourselves, make sure to apply bug repellent and wear long clothing when in areas that contain a high population of insects that spread these diseases. Also, taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint will help reduce the rate of global warming, therefore helping in the fight against these diseases. Slowly but surely, we can help end the threat of vector borne diseases.

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