Vector-borne human infections of Europe: their distribution and burden on public health




2004 While the number of vector-borne diseases and their incidence in Europe is much less than that of the tropical, developing countries, there are, nevertheless, a substantial number of such infections in Europe. Furthermore, the incidence of many of these diseases has been on the rise, and their distribution is spreading.

This publication reviews the distribution of all of the vector-borne diseases of public health importance in Europe, their principal vectors, and the extent of their public health burden. Such an overall review is necessary to understand the importance of this group of infections and the resources that must be allocated to their control by public health authorities. Medical personnel must be aware of these infections and their distribution to ensure their timely diagnosis and treatment.

New combinations of diseases have also been noted, such as the appearance and spread of co-infections of HIV virus and leishmaniasis. The effect of global warming may lead to the resurgence of some diseases or the establishment of others never before transmitted on the continent. Tropical infections are constantly being introduced into Europe by returning tourists and immigrants and local transmission of some of these, such as malaria, has already taken place as a result.