Zoonotic and Vector-Borne Diseases

How do zoonotic or vector-borne diseases differ? Identify an emerging zoonotic or vector-
borne disease, in your region if possible. Discuss how One Health has worked, or could
work, to address the issue through transdisciplinary collaboration.

Zoonotic and Vector-Borne Diseases

Zoonotic and vector-borne diseases are infectious diseases requiring vectors or animal
hosts for transmission. The vectors often carry infectious pathogens including bacteria, viruses,
and protozoa, and act as agents of transferring the pathogens from one host to another (Kilpatrick
et al., 2017). For most vector-borne diseases, a carrier organism, usually ticks, mites, or other
insects transfer a pathogen from a host to a different, one with a general increase in the
pathogen’s virulence in the vector. Conversely, zoonotic diseases comprise of infections whose
transmission from animals to persons involves contact or vectors that transmit zoonotic disease
agents to animals which later transfer it to humans. 
In my region, an emerging vector-borne disease is Lyme disease. It is a bacterial infection
that presents with fatigue, joint pain, fever, and skin rash, along with more severe complications
of the nervous system. Lyme disease’s transmission occurs through vectors, most notably insects
such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks (Kilpatrick et al., 2017). Specific species of ticks harbor the
Lyme bacteria and their bites cause Lyme disease. Although predominantly found on deer, the
ticks also inhabit birds and rodents. In recent years, the number of verified cases of Lyme disease
seems to increase as documented in health records. Towards addressing this vector-borne disease
through trans-disciplinary collaboration, the One Health Office relentlessly works with various
partners to provide education to young people in agricultural groups such as the Future Farmers

ZOONOTIC AND VECTOR-BORNE DISEASES 2
of America and the 4-H organization. They provide detailed information on preventing the
spread of the disease through practical measures such as spraying and rodent control (Kilpatrick
et al., 2017). Through various One Health teams, it has been possible to reach out to large
numbers of people residing in rural areas. So far, one of the important results by the One Health
teams is equipping people to understand the major hosts of the vectors, mostly deer and rodents.

ZOONOTIC AND VECTOR-BORNE DISEASES 3

Reference

Kilpatrick, A. M., Dobson, A. D., Levi, T., Salkeld, D. J., Swei, A., Ginsberg, H. S., & Ogden,
N. H. (2017). Lyme disease ecology in a changing world: consensus, uncertainty and
critical gaps for improving control. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B:
Biological Sciences, 372(1722), 20160117.

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