But how do you really stop the spread of disease? The first step is really knowing what they are.
In this article, we will highlight 9 of the most common and deadly diseases spread by mosquitoes found worldwide.
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Mosquito Diseases: An Overview
- Mosquitoes are very small minute winged creatures that prey on mammals to feed and survive. The female mosquitoes are the ones that need a blood meal in order to give food and energy for the eggs they are carrying.
- The males on the other hand spend most of their time sucking on plant nectar. This means they cannot bring mosquito diseases to humans and other mammals.
- According to studies, there are over one million people worldwide who have succumbed to the deadly effects of mosquito borne diseases every year
- There are more or less 3,000 established species of mosquitoes that exist. Among the most common carriers of diseases are the following: Anopheles, Culex and Aedes spp.
- These species carry different kinds of bacteria, parasites and viruses and also elicit different types of diseases. These diseases may range from asymptomatic diseases to deadly ones. So it is very important to be educated with the diseases that they may carry.
So without further ado, here are the 9 most common mosquito borne diseases.
9 Mosquito Borne Diseases
Credit: Mosquito Magnet
Malaria, coined from the Italian word for “bad air” is actually brought about by a parasite named as Plasmodium. This parasite is being transmitted to humans via bite from an infected mosquito.
These parasites travel through the skin and into the blood stream. The parasites then infect red blood cells as well as organs that play a huge role in the production of normal red blood cells.
Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache and vomiting. These flu-like symptoms are brought about by the bursting of red blood cells infected with the parasite. If not given proper medical attention, this could lead to eventual death of the person.
2. Lymphatic Filariasis/ Elephantiasis
Lymphatic fiilariasis is brought about by the disease transmission of three specific parasites via bite of an infected mosquito. These parasites include Wuchereria brancofti, Brugia malayi as well as Brugia timori.
Among the mosquitoes that carry these parasites include spp of Anopheles, Culex, Aedes and Mansonia. The parasites that target lymph nodes surrounding various parts of the body causing hyperactivity of the immune system resulting to chronic inflammation.
The chronic inflammation causes edema among areas that have lymph nodes. The most common sites include the scrotum. People who suffer from this mosquito born diseases are left incapacitated and disabled throughout their life.
Honestly, I want to show some pictures over here but they’re too much for my taste so I’ll let you Google this one out.
3. Yellow Fever
Yellow fever is predominant in tropical as well as subtropical countries in South America and Africa. In surveys, the disease is said to have affected 200,000 people, eliciting 30,000 unfortunate deaths every year worldwide. 90% of these cases have occurred in sub-saharan Africa.
The mosquito responsible for transmitting the virus is Aedes or Haemogogus species. The virus’ intermediate hosts are monkeys. After taking a blood meal from infected monkeys, the mosquitoes then transfer them to a susceptible human or non human host.
The disease is usually asymptomatic in nature, however, depending on how the body tries to cope, it can also lead to severe conditions leading to jaundice, bleeding, shock, multiple organ failure and eventual death. Thankfully, there is a vaccine for the virus.
4. West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus was first discovered from a case of a woman who resided in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937.
However, several more cases were found circulating in various areas of Israel and Tunisia.
In present times, there have been some cases found in the United States every year.
In fact, there have been an estimated 2,200 cases in the United States 100 of which have resulted to death in 2014. Several mosquito species have been implicated to carry the virus.
Most cases of West Nile Virus or West Nile Fever surprisingly did not elicit any symptoms. However, a few symptoms that may manifest include fever, headache, tiredness, nausea, vomiting as well as swollen lymph glands. In some cases also, there were also skin rashes which are usually found in the trunk of the body.
In severe cases, West Nile Virus can cause neurological conditions resulting to encephalitis and meningitis, most of which will result to death.
5. Dengue Fever
Dengue Fever is a very common disease in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The virus is transmitted by a bite from an infected female mosquito of the Aedes aegypti spp and Aedes albopictus spp.
Every year, there are as many as 400 million people who are affected. The virus is part of the Flaviviridae family of viruses.
The symptoms of the disease include very high fever, severe headache as well as pain in joints and in the occipital regions. In some cases, there are also symptoms which include muscle pain and wasting as well as bleeding in the gums, nose.
A severe case of dengue fever infection can cause dengue hemorrhagic fever or shock which can cause death if not managed properly. Currently, there is no treatment for dengue virus, the only remedy is to treat various symptoms and maintain good hydration.
I contracted Dengue fever when I was around 8 or 9 and it was one of the worst illness I’ve ever had. I lived in the Philippines back then and there was a big Dengue fever outbreak during that time.
Our house was near a grassland and our backyard had a shit ton of plants, herbs, and orchids (my mom liked gardening). These places are mosquito HQ.
I can still see the hallucinations caused by an insanely high fever of 104 degrees: one was a meteor (or was it the Sun?) that was heading straight through me, the other was something along the lines of killing someone. I dunno, I’m weird.
Anyway, I did get better after 1 week or so, but I’m still afraid of mosquitoes.
Chikungunya is another mosquito borne disease which is common in tropical and subtropical regions. However, there have been cases seen in North America and various parts of Europe.
Often mistaken or misdiagnosed as dengue fever due to the similar symptoms it causes, it also is brought about by the bite of an infected female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito.
The symptoms for both dengue and chikungunya are quite similar and death brought about by the disease has not been noted as of the moment. However, in comparison to dengue fever, joint pain can last up to several months.
7. Zika Fever
Zika fever is also a viral disease that is brought about by the bite of an infected Aedes spp mosquito. The symptoms include mild fever, rash, pain in the joints as well as swelling of the eyes. Death is uncommon with the disease, fortunately.
However, the main caveat of Zika fever is when pregnant women are infected. When this happens, infants usually are born with abnormalities. The most common manifestation is microcephaly.
8. Ross River Fever
Ross River Fever is another viral infection mosquito born disease. It is usually an asymptomatic disease.
However, immunodeficient hosts can experience symptoms such as joint pain, muscle pain, fatigue, and rashes. The disease is self limiting, lasting to about a few weeks to 1 month.
The disease is predominant in areas of Australia, Papua New Guinea and various areas of Indonesia and the Pacific.
9. Eastern Equine Encephalitis
The last mosquito born disease is the Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The disease is found in the west part of Mississippi as well as various regions of Canada and Mexico. The primary vector for this disease is the Culex tarsalis.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Mosquito born disease has been and is still a public health concern across the globe. Although not all of these diseases are fatal or can cause debilitating conditions, however, most of them have taken the lives of many affected individuals across the globe.
The fact that most of these disease do not have definitive treatments, further compounds the problem. With this premise, the only sure way of having disease control and preventing it from spreading is through safe and effective pest control. This blog is made just for that – read how propane mosquito traps and foggers can eliminate your risk and prevent mosquito bites in the future. t
If you feel like you have any of these symptoms don’t hesitate to visit your nearest Centers for Disease Control (CDC).