Vector-borne diseases continue to be a major burden among affected communities around the world, predominantly in tropical and subtropical regions. The main vector-borne diseases are malaria, dengue, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, Zika virus disease, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and schistosomiasis. These diseases are caused by pathogens that are transmitted to or between humans by mosquitoes, sandflies, triatomine bugs, blackflies and snails. Some disease pathogens are transmitted to humans by fleas, ticks and tsetse flies, and various enteric disease pathogens are transmitted mechanically by flies.
Control of these disease vectors is intended to break the cycle of their transmission. Vector surveillance and control have made a major contribution to the control or elimination of many vector-borne diseases. For certain diseases for which effective vaccines or medications are lacking, vector control is the only practicable option for prevention or control. Insecticides have been the mainstay of vector control by killing immature stages or adults or otherwise preventing human biting by vector species.
The Global Vector Control Response 2017–2030 was launched as a comprehensive approach to vector control to counter the impact of vector-borne diseases. A key aspect of the response is efficient, efficacious deployment of vector surveillance and control interventions while ensuring management of insecticide resistance and minimizing the adverse effects of pesticides on health and the environment, in accordance with the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management. A recent global survey, however, showed shortcomings in pesticide life cycle management in all WHO regions, including inadequate regulation and quality control of insecticides; shortcomings were also identified in monitoring insecticide resistance, safety measures, storage conditions and waste disposal.
Up-to-date information on the use and impact of insecticides for vector control is essential for evaluating strategies for the control or elimination of vector-borne diseases and pesticide management. Of particular concern is the development of insecticide resistance in vector populations, and programmes must adopt strategies for informed selection or application of vector control products or introduction of alternative approaches. In the past decade, various new vector control interventions became available for public health purposes. WHO’s prequalification programme ensures that good-quality vector control products for indoor residual spraying, longlasting insecticidal nets, space spraying and larviciding are available to those who need them by prescribing uniform standards of efficacy, safety and quality. The degree of compliance with these international standards in terms of selection and use of insecticide products is an indicator of the efficacy and safety of vector control interventions.
Data on insecticide use are also required for elaboration or amendment of international agreements, notably the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and a resolution of the International Conference of Chemicals Management on highly hazardous pesticides.
WHO published data on the global use of insecticides for the control of vector-borne diseases in several biannual updates. In 2011, a more comprehensive global assessment was conducted of insecticide use in targeted countries covering the 10-year period 2000–2009. The purpose of this document is to report the use of vector control insecticides over the period 2010–2019 in order to inform decision-making on vector control and insecticide resistance management and to inform the public about use of insecticides in public health. Comparisons are made with the period 2000–2009.
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