Emerging vector-borne diseases are an important issue in global health. Many vector-borne pathogens have appeared in new regions in the past two decades, while many endemic diseases have increased in incidence. Although introductions and emergence of endemic pathogens are often considered to be distinct processes, many endemic pathogens are actually spreading at a local scale coincident with habitat change. We draw attention to key differences between dynamics and disease burden that result from increased pathogen transmission after habitat change and after introduction into new regions. Local emergence is commonly driven by changes in human factors as much as by enhanced enzootic cycles, whereas pathogen invasion results from anthropogenic trade and travel where and when conditions (eg, hosts, vectors, and climate) are suitable for a pathogen. Once a pathogen is established, ecological factors related to vector characteristics can shape the evolutionary selective pressure and result in increased use of people as transmission hosts. We describe challenges inherent in the control of vector-borne zoonotic diseases and some emerging non-traditional strategies that could be effective in the long term.
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