Vector-borne diseases are pathologies caused by pathogens and parasites in human populations.

Among the diseases transmitted by vectors, an important group consists of arbovirosis, that is, viral infections transmitted by arthropods.

In Italy and Europe, the last decade has seen an increase in the reporting of cases of some widespread arboviruses in the world, including Dengue, Chikungunya fever and West Nile virus.

In Italy there are both native arboviruses, including West Nile disease, Usutu virus infection, Tuscan virus infection and tick-borne viral encephalitis; and mainly imported arboviruses, such as infections caused by Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika viruses.

In our country, between September and October 2017, there was an epidemic of Chikungunya virus in Lazio with outbreaks identified in the municipalities of Anzio, Rome and Latina (206 cases reported as autochthonous only in Lazio).

Mosquitoes are the best-known vectors of disease; among others, there are ticks, flies, sand flies, fleas, triatomine bedbugs and some freshwater gastropod mollusks.

As for mosquitoes, it should be borne in mind that they are not all the same: in fact, Culex mosquitoes, vectors of the West Nile virus, bite at night and at night, while Aedes mosquitoes, vectors of Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika, bite during the day.

In this new scenario, the presence of competent vectors for the transmission of diseases imposes
the universal and timely adoption of measures to combat these insects and systems of
extremely sensitive health surveillance, in order to limit the introduction of viruses into our
country and/or limit its transmission.

Proper management of the territory and living environments is essential for the prevention of all
arbovirosis subject of the “National Plan for Surveillance and Response to Arbovirosis”.


To reduce the risk of transmission of arbovirosis, the most appropriate preventive measure is to avoid being bitten by sandflies or jowls (small mosquito-like insects), ticks and mosquitoes.

In particular, with regard to mosquito bites, the approach to prevention is influenced by the level of concentration of the vectors and, therefore, in some cases, it may be necessary to adopt several preventive measures, such as: 

  • outdoors, wear light-colored clothing that covers most of the body;
  • outdoors, apply insect repellents on exposed parts; it may  be necessary to repeat the application every 3-4 hours because they are inactivated over time by heat and sweat (follow the rules indicated on the product package inserts); pay special attention to use in children and pregnant women;
  • stay in rooms equipped with air conditioning or, in the absence of this, mosquito nets at the windows, taking care that they are kept in order and well closed; 
  • if mosquitoes are present indoors, vaporise specific sprays or use insecticide diffusers, aerating the premises well before staying there; 
  • in general, pay attention to the most at-risk contexts especially if you think you are allergic to mosquito bites and similar insects;
  • avoid stagnation of water, it is advisable to use larvicides in tanks and decorative fountains and/or place mosquito-eating fish (e.g. Gambusia) and empty the underpots;
  • it is advisable to take care of the herbs (e.g. mowing hedges).


Drafted by: Dr. Doriana Vallone- Medical Director UOS SISP SUD

                  Dr. Vincenzo Allegretti- HEAD of UOS SISP SOUTH

Last Updated: 30/06/2023

Pubblicato il: 30/06/2023

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