Vector-borne diseases occur in the chain pathogen-vector-host, with vectors playing the most prominent role. Vectors transmit pathogens between humans, and more often, from animals to humans so that many vector-borne diseases are categorized as zoonoses. Vector-borne diseases have become more important worldwide, and not exclusively in the tropics as in the past, by causing high morbidity and mortality every year. Out of all infectious diseases, more than 17% are vector-borne. The most significant and widespread vectors are mosquitoes and ticks, and the most significant diseases are West Nile fever, yellow fever, Zika virus fever, tick encephalitis, Lyme borreliosis, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and rickettsioses.
Life and preservation of the vectors, and breakouts and spread of vector-borne diseases are profoundly affected by climate change (rise in temperature and humidity, downfalls, extreme weather conditions), urbanization, deforestation, inadequate waste management, international travel, international commerce and social conditions, with poverty being the most important and directly linked to the rising incidence. In recent years, all factors mentioned above have favoured a rising number of the vectors and their spread, so that vector-borne diseases have become emergent or reemergent, meaning their high incidence has been registered in the countries with no previous breakouts; or they reoccurred in the areas where they had earlier been eradicated. Some extra reasons contributing to the increasing incidence are lowered investments and limited resources for monitoring vector-borne diseases. Most vector-borne diseases are zoonoses, making One Health the only appropriate approach, which implies integrated monitoring of the diseases in the sectors of both animal and human health. Prevention of vector-borne diseases should be aimed at raising public awareness of the importance of the vectors, education of the professionals and active involvement of the community as a whole.
Key words: Vectors, diseases, prevention