ESA Statement on Withdrawal of U.S. from the World Health Organization

Annapolis, MD; June 11, 2020—Diseases spread by insects and other public health threats are not confined by national borders. The Entomological Society of America (ESA) is deeply concerned by the Trump administration’s decision to end the relationship between the U.S. and the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO has been on the front lines of every major infectious disease outbreak since its foundation, from Ebola and Zika to the current COVID-19 pandemic. It also plays a critical role in helping manage and protect against diseases spread by insects and their relatives.

Diseases spread by insects—also known as vector-borne diseases—result in more than 700,000 deaths annually across the globe and account for 17 percent of all infectious diseases. WHO, following the guidance put forth in its Global Vector Control Response (2017-2030) strategy, plays a key role in promoting vector management as a means to reduce the transmission of these diseases. By providing training, evidence-based guidance, technical support, and new tools and technologies for vector and disease management, WHO helps nations and communities protect themselves from mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and other vectors of disease.

The U.S. provides about 22 percent of WHO’s $4.8 billion annual budget, as well as technical and political support. Withdrawing from this relationship will be detrimental to our role as leaders in global health, and choosing to do so during the worst global pandemic in a century carries many risks for our domestic population by reducing our access to information, research, collaboration, and input on global decisions. Furthermore, it has the potential to significantly weaken WHO’s ability to respond to future public health threats or pandemics. Consequently, the U.S. removal from the organization threatens the health of people throughout the world.

ESA urges the administration to reevaluate the decision to end support for WHO and consider the long-term consequences of this decision for both U.S. and global health.


ABOUT: ESA is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, the Society stands ready as a non-partisan scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit