HHS, CDC detail vector-borne disease strategy crafted by 17 federal agencies

The U.S. government has unveiled a National Public Health Strategy to Prevent and Control Vector-Borne Diseases in People, which 17 federal departments and agencies jointly worked to develop.

The 84-page strategy, detailed by the HHS and CDC in a Feb. 6 news release, prioritizes collaboration between federal, state, tribal and academic institutions, research organizations and public health departments to prevent the vector's spread of pathogens, which have been increasingly rising in the U.S.

Vector-borne diseases (VBDs)  are transmitted to humans via bites from insects like mosquitoes, ticks or fleas.

"VBDs increasingly threaten the health and wellbeing of people in the United States, with reported cases doubling over the last two decades," the document reads. "Close to 1 million reported VBD cases in the United States occurred between 2001 and 2023 due to multiple mosquito-borne disease outbreaks and geographic spread of tick-borne diseases." 

Even in the last year, cases of mosquito-borne illnesses, like dengue, have popped up in more places across the U.S. 

"As the geographic range of vectors is expanding, the number of pathogens spread by vectors continues to climb, yet only one vaccine is available to protect people against domestic VBD threats," the document states. 

The aim of the strategy is five-fold: 

  • To clearly understand how, where and why people are getting sick with vector-borne diseases.
  • To begin development and implementation of guidance to diagnose diseases and their pathogens. 
  • To craft guidance about proper control and prevention of these infections. 
  • To assess and implement drug and treatment strategies for those who become ill.
  • To develop the proper public health tools that allow for collaborative response to vector-borne illness threats. 

"Vector-borne diseases are a global threat, with national security, economic, and health implications for the United States," the HHS release states. "As the federal government continues to proactively strengthen its response to this threat, HHS and CDC plan to develop future iterations of the VBD National Strategy with opportunities for public engagement."

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