Vectors of Risk: Zika, West Nile, and Similar Tick and Mosquito Disease Litigation

Introduction

Liability Risks for Vector-Borne Diseases
Zika virus and its devastating results are currently in the news, but Zika virus is not the only disease transmitted by mosquitos or other vectors, such as ticks. West Nile virus is also a concern, as are other forms of vector-borne illnesses such as dengue fever, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, malaria, and others.

Vector-borne diseases account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than one million deaths annually. Global trade, rapid international travel, and environmental changes such as climate change and urbanization are causing vectors and vector-borne diseases to spread.

Injuries related to vector-borne diseases may give rise to claims of medical malpractice or negligence in the diagnosis or treatment of the illnesses. Other liability risks also may arise in connection with vector-borne diseases, such as claims against employers by employees who work in environments infested with mosquitoes or ticks.

Attorneys, physicians, hospitals, insurers, employers, and others who may be parties in litigation should be aware of the types of lawsuits and other liability issues that may arise in connection with vector-borne diseases.