Beware of insect-borne infectious diseases | Updated: 2023-06-28
What are insect-borne infectious diseases?
Insect-borne infectious diseases, mainly transmitted by arthropods (commonly known as bugs) such as mosquitoes, fleas and ticks, are deemed as highly destructive and contagious vector-borne diseases. Generally, summer and autumn are the seasons when these diseases frequently occur.
Common insect-borne infectious diseases include Japanese encephalitis (JE), plague, dengue fever, scrub typhus, severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, Lyme disease, and forest encephalitis.
As mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and other vectors suck blood through bites, pathogens enter the human body from the blood and reproduce in large numbers, invading various organs and tissues, leading to infection. 
This infection occurs continuously, and the scope of transmission continues to expand, resulting in outbreaks and increased prevalence.
What are their morbidity and mortality rate in China? 
The Chinese government attaches great importance to the prevention and control of insect-borne diseases. Filariasis and malaria were eliminated respectively in 2007 and in 2021. Plague and JE have also been brought under effective control.
At present, the number of reported cases and deaths of insect-borne infectious diseases accounts for just one to three percent of all diseases in China.
What are their epidemic characteristics?
The prevalence of insect-borne infectious diseases has very obvious local and seasonal characteristics, which are mainly related to the geographical and seasonal distribution of insect-borne organisms.
How to prevent insect-borne diseases when traveling?
Avoid traveling when there is an outbreak of an infectious disease at the destination.
Inquire about potential local infectious diseases in advance, and take corresponding preventive measures. The most effective method is to receive a shot. For diseases with no vaccine at present, people should take backup medicine according to the doctor's advice.
Observe personal hygiene. Wash hands frequently, and avoid eating unclean food and drinking un-boiled water.
Prevent insect infestations. Check mattresses, bedding, and furniture for bed bugs. Pay attention to killing mosquitoes in the room or using mosquito nets. When doing outdoor activities, it is advisable to wear long-sleeved tops, trousers, and a hat to minimize the exposed area of the skin. When using mosquito repellents outside, reapply them every few hours. Check your whole body first before entering a room to ensure that no ticks or other insects are attached to the body.
Avoid contact with wild animals to prevent severe infectious diseases such as plague and Ebola hemorrhagic fever.
Once suffering an injury, treat the wound in a timely and proper manner.
Store suitcases properly. Keep the suitcase as far off the ground as possible, and avoid opening it when not in use. Clothes and personal items should be checked carefully before you put them back in the suitcase to avoid transporting bugs inside.