Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) supports the Dutch government and business life by performing diagnostic tests and scientific research and by giving policy recommendations for prevention and control of vector-borne diseases. Many of these diseases are transmissible to humans (zoonoses).
Vector-borne diseases are diseases that are transmitted by, for example, an insect 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.
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. 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.
Diseases that are transmitted by insects call for a specific control strategy. The best control method is 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.