Statement Article from  Public Health Agency of Canada

Archived - World Health Day 2014 - April 7, 2014

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April 7, 2014

Each year on April 7, World Health Day is celebrated around the world. This year’s theme, “Vector-borne diseases: small bite, big threat”, reminds us to take action to protect ourselves against infections that can cause serious illness.

Vectors are small organisms, usually biting types such as mosquitoes, flies, fleas and ticks, which can spread diseases that cause serious illness and death, like dengue fever and malaria. More than half of the world’s population is at risk of these diseases.

The Government of Canada is committed to working with provincial and territorial health authorities and partners to raise awareness among Canadians of the health risks posed by these diseases, and to reduce these risks.

For example, the Public Health Agency of Canada has developed an Action Plan on Lyme Disease and is collaborating with partners and stakeholders to implement various activities. Lyme disease is a serious illness, caused by a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of a blacklegged tick that is emerging in many southern regions of Canada. The Action Plan focuses on increasing engagement, education and awareness of the disease, as well as improving surveillance, prevention and control, and research and diagnosis.

The Agency has also developed a federal, provincial and territorial working group to coordinate public awareness activities on vector-borne diseases, like Lyme disease and West Nile virus, and continue to provide travel health advice to Canadians visiting countries where vectors pose a health threat.

This year on World Health Day, I encourage all Canadians to learn about how they can protect themselves from diseases spread by vectors like mosquitoes and ticks at home and during their travels. Simple measures, such as wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent, can go a long way to keep those ‘small bites and big threats’ at bay.


The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

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