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Federal government develops strategy to fight vector-borne diseases

|  September 30, 2020

To help protect those in the United States from diseases transmitted by ticks, mosquitoes, fleas and other blood-feeding vectors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a National Public Health Framework for the Prevention and Control of Vector-Borne Diseases in Humans.

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PHOTO: CDC

The Framework was developed as a result of the Kay Hagan Tick Act, which was signed into law in December 2019. It is named for Senator Kay Hagan, who died Oct. 28, 2019, from complications of Powassan virus, a tick-borne disease.

The Tick Act called for a three-pronged approach to address the public health threat, and requiring the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop a national strategy is one of them.

Five federal departments — U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Homeland Security — and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contributed to the development of the Framework in an effort to “reverse the current upward trends in vector-borne diseases and to increase the nation’s ability to protect the U.S. population from these diseases.”

The Framework details the federal government’s priorities to engage stakeholders that include associations of entomological and vector control professionals, as well as industry and associations to help fight vector borne disease in the United States.

The Framework identifies five goals:

  1. Better understand when, where, and how people are exposed to and get sick or die from vector-borne diseases.
  2. Develop, evaluate, and improve tools and guidance for the diagnosis and detection of vector-borne diseases.
  3. Develop, evaluate, and improve tools and guidance for the prevention and control of vector-borne diseases.
  4. Develop and assess drugs and treatment strategies for vector-borne diseases.
  5. Disseminate and support the implementation of effective public health and vector control products, tools, and programs to prevent, detect, diagnose, and respond to vector-borne disease threats.

It states the problem is that everyone in the United States is at risk; more cases of tick-borne and mosquito-borne cases are being reported to the CDC than ever before; more of the pathogens that cause disease are being identified; and the geographic location of mosquitoes, ticks and fleas is expanding in the United States thereby putting more people are at risk.

The National Public Health Framework for the Prevention and Control of Vector-Borne Diseases in Humans is available here in its entirety.

Diane Sofranec

About the Author:

Diane Sofranec is the senior editor for PMP magazine. She can be reached at dsofranec@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3793.

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