Environmental impact on vector borne diseases

1. Key messages

2. Background

Climate and weather conditions (temperature, humidity, increased rain fall and flooding…) and human-related factors (travel, international trade, changes in land-use, behavior...) influence vector distribution, animal host density and disease transmission.

Diseases transmitted by mosquito bites, such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya and West Nile virus have already emerged in different parts of Europe but not yet in Belgium. However, possible vectors of dengue and chikungunya have been already observed in our country.

Diseases transmitted by ticks are also strongly related to climate and environmental factors. At a European level, climate change has already led to changes in the distribution of tick populations. An increase of Lyme borreliosis has been observed in some countries, but, up till now, not in Belgium. Animal studies have revealed that the tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus has been circulating in the country for at least several years. In 2018, the first two cases of TBE who were probably infected in Belgium, have been reported.

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