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World Health Day 2014

Each year the World Health Organization focuses its World Health Day on a serious, global health issue. On April 7, the WHO will focus on vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue.

Vectors are small organisms that carry serious diseases with big consequences. Vector-borne diseases kill a million people every year, with half of the world’s population at risk.

The most common carriers of these deadly diseases are  mosquitoes, sand flies and ticks. In addition to malaria and dengue, these carriers spread Lyme disease, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and Leishmaniasis.

Because many military families travel to exotic or remote areas, your family could be more exposed to vector-borne diseases than non-military families. In addition, many of these diseases are now showing up in areas where they were never tracked before, due to globalization, climate change, and urbanization.

Take Simple Precautions:

If you plan to travel outside of the United States, research the potential vector-borne diseases you may be exposed to while away. A great resource is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travelers' Health pages where you can learn about the health risks in any country.

If you are planning a trip to the tropics, take the following simple measures to protect yourself and your family from vector-borne diseases:
  • Get vaccinated against yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis
  • Be sure windows are screened in the buildings where you visit, especially wherever you sleep
  • Use insect repellent and reapply it regularly
  • Wear light-colored long sleeve tops and long pants, plus socks and shoes
  • Sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net
  • Avoid areas with stagnant water
All it takes is a simple preventive measures and planning ahead to keep your family safe and healthy.

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