Vector-borne diseases are caused by viruses, parasites, and bacteria that are transferred by vectors. Dengue, malaria, African human trypanosomiasis, schistosomiasis, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, and Japanese encephalitis kill millions of people each year.

These vector-borne diseases are most prevalent in subtropical and tropical regions and disparately affect the lowest-income societies. In many regions since 2014, large outbreaks of malaria, dengue, Zika, and yellow fever, have impacted populations, claimed a person’s life, and overwhelmed healthcare systems. Other diseases, including leishmaniasis, Chikungunya, and lymphatic filariasis, cause chronic pain, mortality, stigma, and disability.

A comprehensive set of environmental, demographic, and social factors influence the distribution of vector-borne diseases.


  • Dengue Fever
  • Malaria
  • Chikungunya
  • Plague
  • Lyme Disease
  • West Nile Virus
  • Rabbit Fever
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Relapsing Fever
  • Zika Virus Disease
  • Flea Borne


The symptoms of vector-borne diseases you experience will differ depending on the type of organism that bit you. Typical symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Rashes on the skin

Serious signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Swelling of tongue, lips, or face
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Dizziness 


Because the symptoms are not specific, the disease must be diagnosed. A physical exam, an analysis of your symptoms, and an examination of your recent travel are typically used to diagnose vector-borne diseases.

Certain vector-borne diseases can be diagnosed using laboratory tests (blood and urine). A serology test is also recommended if the patient has had the signs for more than a week. Because there is no specific treatment for this vector-borne disease, seeking medical care right away reduces the risk of death. Indeed, some dengue patients require a blood transfusion due to a low platelet count.


Clean any bites as soon as you notice them. Apply rubbing alcohol after patting it dry. If you have been bitten, remove it immediately before cleaning the area. Pull it off your skin slowly with tweezers. Soap and water your hands and the bite area, then wipe with alcohol. Apply an antibacterial ointment over-the-counter to the bite area.

Consult your healthcare provider if you experience any of the symptoms listed. He or she may give you an antibiotic prescription. Other treatments to alleviate symptoms may be suggested by your doctor. OTC pain relievers, for example, can help with fever and sore muscles.

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