Vectors and vector-borne diseases in Qatar: current status, key challenges and future prospects
Published: 23 November 2021
Journal of the European Mosquito Control Association , Volume 39, pp 3-13; https://doi.org/10.52004/jemca2021.x001
Abstract: Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) have re-emerged worldwide due to urbanisation, increase in travel and climate change, becoming a major and serious threat to global public health. In Qatar, the concern has recently risen because of the attribution of the soccer 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, which necessitates fulfilling requirements in terms of prevention and preparedness for disease transmission, including VBDs. This review presents a general overview about current status of vectors and VBDs in Qatar and addresses key challenges and future prospects of control programmes and strategies. It is based on a vector control situation analysis and needs assessment performed during an expert mission in Qatar, November 2017, organised by the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office and achieved in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health of Qatar and other local stakeholders. The situation of vectors and VBDs of public health importance in Qatar was analysed based on a systematic literature review by December 31, 2019. The literature reveals that no locally transmitted VBD cases have been recorded in Qatar, but cases were recorded among expatriate workers and travellers who returned from an endemic country. However, data on VBD cases remain scarce except for malaria. The presence of native arthropod vectors is under-recorded to date. A compilation of literature data revealed reports of 30 vector species, including 20 mosquitoes, 2 fleas, 1 louse, 1 fly, and 6 ticks. Overall, Qatar benefits currently from a good surveillance of some VBDs (malaria) and has some capacities in vector control, but no national plan exists, and vector surveillance is in its infancy. In Qatar, clear needs exist in capacity in epidemiology and vector entomology, as well as on the organisational level, and a number of measures are suggested to mitigate and improve VBD risk assessment and management. There is an urgent need to define sustainable solutions for VBD control, management and prevention, and a number of recommendations are suggested.
Keywords: Qatar / VBDs / vector control / travellers / prevention / public health / control situation
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