Diseases

MOSQUITOS – THE WORLD’S DEADLIEST ANIMAL

Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Mosquitoes are not just annoying pests they are the deadliest creatures on earth. There are no currently effective vaccines to prevent or medications to cure or even treat most of the diseases that they cause such as Dengue, Yellow fever, Zika, West Nile fever, Malaria, Chikungunya and many more. They threaten over 50% the world’s population with death or long-term illness, killing more than 1 million people every year *.

Despite all the world’s best effort, including billions of dollars spent each year trying to control and prevent them, these diseases continue to spread. Today,no deposit free spins uk with global climate change, rapid urban growth and increasing global trade and travel, these diseases have even spread into the USA and Europe.

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Mosquito-borne Diseases (MBDs)

There are thousands of species of mosquitos in the world, but just three genus cause most of the diseases now facing humanity:

Aedes

Dengue
Zika
Chikungunya
Yellow Fever

Anopheles

Malaria

Culex

West Nile fever
Japanese encephalitis

A brief introduction to the major mosquito-borne diseases.

Malaria

Malaria is a life-threatening disease transmitted to humans through the bite of parasite-infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It triggers fever, chills and a flu-like illness which, if left untreated, can lead to severe illness and death. In 2019, Malaria caused an estimated 409,000 deaths out of 229 million people infected worldwide. Most of these were children aged under 5 years old mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

The total cost of malaria control and elimination reached an estimated US$ 3B in 2019.

WHO DataSheet Malaria

Dengue

Dengue is the world’s most wide-spread and fastest spreading mosquito-borne disease. It infects up to 100 million people each year, about 25% of whom become sick, causing around 22,000 deaths.

  • endemic in almost 130 countries including US and Europe
  • threatens over 40% of world’s population, around 3 billion people
  • virus has 4 strains, second infections cause life-threatening conditions

West Nile Virus (WNV)

WNV is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental US. It occurs in almost 20 countries in Europe.

  • about 1:5 infections produce fever and other symptoms
  • around 1:150 infections cause serious, sometimes fatal, illness
  • commonly found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America
  • can be a fatal neurological disease in humans
  • 1999-2000 imported WNV led to a major outbreak in the continental USA
  • widely established from Canada to Venezuela

Zika

The most recently emerged mosquito-borne viruses, Zika causes no or only mild symptoms in most people infected – but can cause severe neurological defects in the developing fetuses of pregnant women. This can lead to babies being born with microcephaly (a rare disorder in which a baby’s head is much smaller causing developmental problems that can sometimes be fatal).

  • appeared in Pacific region in 2007
  • exploded in Brazil in 2015, spreading rapidly through Latin America
  • with no previous exposure people had no immunity to the virus
  • occurs in Central & South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, & Pacific Islands
  • in US it has been spread locally in the states of Florida and Texas
  • 2019 saw the first local outbreak of Zika in Europe

Chikungunya

This virus is not yet spreading in the US, but almost 800 people in 44 states contracted the disease while traveling. In Europe its first outbreak was in Italy in 2007.

  • an alphavirus like Dengue, also carried by Aedes mosquitoes (primarily Aedes aegypti)
  • originated in tropical Africa, spread east to Asia and north into Europe
  • now occurs in over 60 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas
  • over 1.7 million suspected infections in Americas by 2016

Yellow Fever

While many with Yellow Fever virus show no symptoms, others commonly suffer fever, headache, muscle pain and nausea. A small percentage, however, enter a more severe phase – about half of whom will die.
Fortunately, a safe and effective vaccine exists against yellow fever. The main challenge is to vaccinate people in affected areas fast enough to contain the spread. It is also hard to stockpile enough vaccine to face an outbreak; it currently takes up to one year to produce additional doses.

  • not currently occurring in US or Europe, but remains a threat
  • has caused deadly outbreaks in Brazil, Angola and DR Congo
  • is now endemic in many countries in Africa, Central and South America
  • risk of deadly outbreaks in heavily populated areas with high mosquito densities
  • human populations often have little or no immunity (as is currently the case in Africa)

* Caraballo, Hector (May 2014). “Emergency Department Management Of Mosquito-Borne Illness: Malaria, Dengue, And West Nile Virus”. Emergency Medicine Practice.