Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) such as those caused by viruses and parasites which are transmitted to humans, mainly by mosquitoes, are a major threat to the health and economies of societies globally. Over 80% of the world’s population is at risk of contracting a VBD with mosquito borne diseases (MBD) having the greatest impact (Franklinos et. Al, 2019). MBDs such as human malaria, dengue, chikungunya and zika are diseases account for approximately 17% of the estimated global burden of infectious diseases, with approximately 700, 000 attributable deaths each year.
The Caribbean region is a hot spot for the emergence and persistence of VBDs in the American continent. Dengue-like illnesses were recorded in the Americas since the 1600s, but the modern era of understanding started with the isolation of the dengue virus for the first time in 1943-44. The Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory (1952-1974) and the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC 1975-2012), which were merged into CARPHA in 2013, contributed significantly to the global understanding of the disease.
CARPHA’s mission is to provide strategic direction, in analysing, defining and responding to public health priorities of Member States in an effort to prevent disease, promote health and respond to public health emergencies. The outbreaks of Chikungunya and Zika regionally confirm to the need for increased surveillance. Additionally, with increased travel due to domestic and international tourism in the region, the potential for such threats to have a pandemic potential is great.
Franklinos, Lydia H. V., Jones, Kate E., Redding, David W., Abubakar, Ibrahim (2019). The effect of global change on mosquito-borne disease. The Lancet
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