Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) currently account for 17 percent of the global burden of all infectious diseases. The most deadly of which, malaria, causes an estimated 627,000 deaths annually. Conditions that affect livestock can also have a significant economic impact, for example trypanosomiasis accounts for losses in cattle production of up to 1.2 billion dollars a year. Taken as a group, vector-borne diseases are responsible for high levels of morbidity in human populations throughout the world, economic losses in production animals and reduced animal welfare.

To investigate this growing threat and to offer a platform for industry debate, the International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) has commissioned an ‘industry first’ white paper entitled: The growing threat of vector-borne disease in humans and animals.

The white paper (independently authored by Oxford Analytica) has been produced with the support of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote the better health and welfare of animals for the greater good of both animals and people globally.

Combating vector-borne diseases is an ever-changing and complex challenge that is affected by many factors, including the impact of climate change on vector spread, habitat change introduced by humans (e.g. wetland creation, the increased movement of goods, humans, livestock and companion animals worldwide) and the increasing risk of insecticide resistance.

Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, Executive Director at IFAH said: “Vector-borne diseases are a topic of international significance that need to be debated head on. The white paper and roundtable will raise awareness of the importance and need to control these diseases and provide the evidence for solvers (the animal health industry) and donors who fund efforts to develop tools to control neglected vector-borne diseases. The white paper includes a number of case studies from across the world and suggests proactive strategies for tackling them on a local, regional and global level”.

“As the representative body for companies engaged in the research, development and manufacturing of animal medicines and health products, IFAH is uniquely positioned to address the challenges and help explore intrinsic links between human and animal health. With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation we will be able to address more issues and reach more stakeholders than ever before.”

The white paper has been discussed by world leading industry influencers at a roundtable in Geneva with the specific objective of formulating strategies and partnerships across a variety of organisations from research bodies to policy makers and is now available to download from the IFAH website.

To complement the white paper IFAH will be releasing a number of infographics. The first of which is available now via the IFAH press office and on ifahsec.org