vector borne diseases

Vector-borne diseases

Vector-borne diseases are diseases that are transmitted by, for example, an insect (the vector) from one animal to another, or to a human. Midges, mosquitos and ticks are examples of a vector. These diseases are becoming more frequent in the Netherlands and Europe.

Increasing likelihood of spread

The majority of animal diseases that occur in the Netherlands are spread directly from one animal to another. But other diseases are becoming more widespread. Diseases and insects that previously only occurred in the tropics and subtropics are steadily moving northward and therefore towards the Netherlands. Global warming means that pathogens and insects can survive in areas that were previously too cold. In addition, people, animals and goods travel all over the globe, giving diseases and insects a free ride unnoticed. This increases the likelihood of spreading animal diseases.

Examples of vector-borne diseases

Focus on prevention

Diseases that are transmitted by insects call for a specific control strategy. Culling contaminated animals contains the disease, but does not eradicate it. The best control method is disease prevention. This involves, among other things, a strict check on the import of animals, knowledge of where the diseases occur and the development and application of diagnostics and vaccines.


van Gennip, R. G., van de Water, S. G., Potgieter, C. A., van Rijn, P. A. 2017. Structural protein VP2 of African horse sickness virus is not essential for virus replication in vitro. J. Virol. 2017

Faverjon, C, Leblond, A, Lecollinet, S, Bødker, R, de Koeijer, AA & Fischer, EAJ 2016, 'Comparative Risk Analysis of Two Culicoides-Borne Diseases in Horses: Equine Encephalosis More Likely to Enter France than African Horse Sickness' Transboundary and Emerging Diseases., 10.1111/tbed.12577

A.R.W. Elbers, S-J. van den Heuvel, R.Meiswinkel. 2016. Diel activity and preferred landing sites in Culicoides biting midges attacking Fjord horses. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, vol. 160, issue 3, pages 272-280

Elbers ARW, Meiswinkel R. 2016. Limited attractant range of the black-light trap for the capture of Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). J. Appl. Entomol. 2016; 140 (5): 386-394. doi: 10.1111/jen.12266.  WOT-01-003-063 en WOT-01-001-004.

Barbara Drolet, Piet A. van Rijn, Elizabeth W Howerth, Martin Beer, and Peter. P.C. Mertens. 2015. A Review of Knowledge Gaps and Tools for Orbivirus Research. Vector-Borne Zoonot. 15: 339-347.

Mathew, C., Klevar, S., Elbers, A.R.W., van der Poel, W.H.M.,  Kirkland, P.D., Godfroid, J., Mdegela, R.H., Mwamengele, G., Stokstad, M. 2015. Detection of Simbu sero-group virus serum neutralizing antibodies in cattle in Tanzania. BMC Vet. Res. 11: 208.