World's population at risk from organism-borne diseases

GENEVA - The World Health Organization (WHO) has released information stating that more than half of the world`s population is at risk from vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue. 

Diseases such as these are commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical regions and places where access to safe drinking-water and sanitation systems is problematic.

They are spread via vectors which are small organisms, such as mosquitoes, sandflies and ticks, which transmit pathogens and parasites from one infected person, or animal, to another causing serious disease in human populations.

Vector-borne diseases account for an estimated 17 percent of the world`s infectious diseases with the most deadly being malaria, which caused an estimated 660,000 deaths in 2010, according to WHO.

However, the world`s fastest growing vector-borne disease is dengue, with a 30-fold increase in cases of the disease over the last 50 years

 Over 2.5 billion people – over 40% of the world`s population – are now at risk from dengue. WHO currently estimates there may be up to100 million dengue infections worldwide every year.

WHO noted that an estimated 500,000 people with severe dengue require hospitalization each year, a large proportion of whom are children and about 2.5percent of those infected die.

There is no specific treatment for dengue fever and there is no vaccine to protect against it.

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