World Health Day

2014 spotlight: Vector-borne diseases

WHO/R. Kukreja

World Health Day 2014 will spotlight diseases that are transmitted by small organisms (vectors) from person to person and place to place. Some of these diseases notably malaria, and dengue are of great public importance in South-East Asia Region.

This year campaign focuses on some of the main vectors and the diseases they cause and what we can all do to protect ourselves.


More than 1.4 billion people in the Region live in areas at risk of malaria, and 10 of the 11 Member States are endemic for the disease. However, in the South East-Asia Region, significant progress has been achieved in malaria control.

Malaria cases were reduced by 43% from 5 968 249 in 2003 to 3 401 898 in 2011, and malaria deaths declined by 68% from 4482 in 2003 to 1819 in 2011. Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic Korea, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are aiming for elimination of malaria.


Kala-azar, the most severe form of leishmaniasis, is a parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of infected female sandflies. It affects poor communities causing significant health, social and economic impact. Without treatment, it is fatal in almost all cases.

India and Bangladesh are among the most severely affected countries in the world, while in WHO’s South East Asia region, Nepal and Bhutan have reported cases as well.

Lymphatic filariasis

Lymphatic filariasis is infection with the filarial worms, Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi or B. timori. These parasites are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito and develop into adult worms in the lymphatic vessels, causing severe damage and swelling (lymphoedema).

Elephantiasis – painful, disfiguring swelling of the legs and genital organs – is a classic sign of late-stage disease.


fact buffet


1.4 billionpeople in South-East Asia Region at risk

Factsheet on malaria
pdf, 3.02Mb


2.24 millionreported cases in South-East Asia Region (2003-2012)

Factsheet on dengue
pdf, 2.57Mb


147 millionpeople in South-East Asia Region at risk

Factsheet on kala-azar
pdf, 1.27Mb

Educational material

Information booklet on VBD

Collaborating Centres in SEA Region

1. Centre for Research and Training on Malaria, Yangon, Myanmar
2. Centre for Clinical Management of Malaria, Bangkok, Thailand
3. Queen Sirikit's National Institute of Child Health, Bangkok, Thailand

Bibliography on Vector-borne Diseases from SEA Region, 2009-2013

Contact us

Dr Ahmed Jamsheed Mohamed
World Health Organization
Regional Office for South-East Asia
World Health House
Indraprastha Estate
Mahatma Gandhi Marg
New Delhi 110 002, India
Telephone: +91-11-23370804, 23370809-11