The WHO explains the direct pest-related public health consequences. Pests are responsible among others for allergic asthma and vector-borne diseases.

Three main types of allergic reactions can be caused by pests:

  • Allergic asthma is mainly caused by droppings and other materials from rodents, cockroaches and dust mites
  • Allergic reactions to saliva or venom from blood sucking or stinging insects such as bed bugs, mosquitoes, midges, sandflies and black flies
  • Anaphylactic shock such as caused by wasp venom or pigeon tick bites.

Vector-borne diseases are human illnesses caused by parasites, viruses and bacteria that are transmitted in Europe by pests such as mosquitoes, sandflies, blackflies and ticks. 

According to WHO every year there are more than 700 000 deaths globally from diseases such as malaria, dengue, schistosomiasis, human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and onchocerciasis.

Over the last decade Europe is increasingly at risk through the (re-)emergence of vector-borne diseases and the introduction of new vectors. Main examples are:

  • Introduction of the Tiger Mosquito in Southern Europe and its spread northwards
  • Local outbreaks of Chikungunya and Dengue in Southern Europe related to the presence of invasive local Tiger mosquito populations, and the introduction of viruses through travellers coming back from the tropics
  • Spread of West-Nile virus (wide range of mosquito species) in Southern and Eastern parts of Europe
  • Spread of Hanta virus (through rodent urine) in Northern Europe
  • Increasing awareness for tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and Tick-borne Encephalitis.



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