A vector pest is known as a pest that carries diseases that can be transmitted to humans. We have vector pests that include:
- Cockroaches. The listed cockroaches are controlled to halt the spread of asthma, allergy, and food contamination.
- Body, head, and crab lice. These lice are surveyed for and controlled to prevent the spread of skin irritation and rashes, and to prevent the occurrence of louse-borne diseases such as epidemic typhus, trench fever, and epidemic relapsing fever in the United States.
- Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are controlled to prevent the spread of mosquitoes bearing such diseases as malaria; Zika; St. Louis, Eastern, Western, West Nile and LaCrosse encephalitis; yellow fever and dengue fever.
- Ticks: The various tick species transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, tick-borne relapsing fever, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
- Bed bugs: Controlled because their bites can cause allergic reactions.
- Various rats and mice. The listed rats and mice include those which are controlled to prevent the spread of rodent-borne diseases and contamination of food for human consumption.
- Various microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and protozoans. The listed microorganisms are the subject of control programs by public health agencies and hospitals for the purpose of preventing the spread of numerous diseases.
- Reptiles and birds. The listed organisms are controlled to prevent the spread of disease and the prevention of direct injury.
- Various mammals. The listed organisms have the potential for direct human injury and can act as disease reservoirs (i.e., rabies, etc.).
We perceive many pests (vectors) as harmless as we slap biting mosquitoes or swatting flies on our food. However, those “simple” acts are how vector pests transmit diseases to you. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture do not envision that this list of pests of significant public health importance will remain static. It is possible in the future, as there are new discoveries concerning the roles of species in spreading disease.