5 Common Diseases Caused by Mosquitoes
Any disease spread by a bite of an infected mosquito is known as a Mosquito-Borne Disease. According to the World Health Organisation, such diseases are typically found in tropical and subtropical regions.
A mosquito bite can cause a mild or persisting illness in most cases. However, it can infect over 500 million people and generate approximately 1 million deaths annually. Diseases caused by mosquitoes are generally Dengue, Malaria, Chikungunya etc.
What Are the Prominent Mosquito-borne Diseases?
Following is a list of 5 diseases caused by mosquitoes that can cause death:
Female mosquitoes from the species Aedes aegypti primarily spread the dengue virus. The symptoms may take 3 to 14 days to appear, and recovery takes 2 to 7 days. However, some people can also develop a severe version of dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever. In such a case, the fever may prevail longer and require hospitalisation.
- High fever and vomiting
- Joint and bone pain, muscle pain and headache
- Skin rashes
- Bleeding from nose and underneath the skin (in dengue hemorrhagic fever)
You can treat dengue by increasing fluid intake, staying hydrated and thorough medication.
Malaria is one of the deadliest diseases caused by mosquitoes developed from Plasmodium vivax. Anopheles mosquitoes spread this disease after being infected by the parasite Plasmodium. This parasite grows cumulatively in your liver and affects your red blood cells. Fever can rise to 105 degrees Fahrenheit due to malaria.
- High fever, sweat and chills
- Headache and muscle pain
- Abdominal pain and diarrhoea
You can treat malaria with anti-malarial drugs and other medicines for fever.
Another mosquito-borne disease is chikungunya, spreading through Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species. Mostly it starts healing within a week, but sometimes the symptoms may last longer. It also sometimes gets misdiagnosed for having similar symptoms of dengue and Zika.
- Fever and tiredness
- Joint swelling and pain
- Muscle pain
- Body rashes
You must drink a lot of water and stay hydrated to treat chikungunya. Also, you require a thorough diagnosis to recognise the misleading symptoms.
4. Japanese Encephalitis
Japanese Encephalitis is another disease caused by mosquito bites. Culex mosquito carries the JE virus that develops in marshes, stagnant water around plants and flooded paddy fields. This virus typically attacks the human brain and spinal cord, and the symptoms are mild.
- Fever and trembling
- Episodic paralysis and neck stiffness
There is no such treatment for Japanese Encephalitis. You can only prevent this disease by vaccination and protecting yourself from mosquito bites. Treatment can only mitigate the symptoms if you get infected by this disease.
Zika is another type of virus that causes diseases spread by mosquitoes. The Aedes albopictus species of mosquito usually transmits this virus. The symptoms of Zika occur from 2 to 14 days after the mosquito bite and last for nearly a week.
- Mild fever and fatigue
- Joint and muscle pain, especially in the arms or feet
- Headache and eye pain
- Abdominal pain
Zika virus has no treatment or vaccination. However, you can treat the symptoms, increase fluid intake, avoid dehydration and take rest.
What Are the Preventive Measures Required to Safeguard from Mosquito-Borne Diseases?
You can prevent mosquito-borne diseases through several measures. Below are some of those measures -
- Dengue and malaria tend to spread during the monsoon in tropical regions. Full-sleeved clothing and using mosquito repellents may help prevent mosquito bites.
- Stagnant dirty water is an ideal place for mosquito breeding. So do not let contaminated water stand around your habitat.
- You must prevent mosquitoes from entering your house.
- Keep your surroundings clean and spray pesticides regularly.
- Netting over your bed before going to sleep helps prevent mosquito bites.
- Avoid staying outside in dusk and evening when mosquitoes are most active.
- Opt for a healthy and balanced diet to increase your immunity
These are the most common diseases caused by mosquitoes in India and Southeast Asia. The dengue epidemic has become more frequent since the 90s. Whereas India accounts for 77% of total malaria cases in Southeast Asia.
The primary reason for such epidemics is a lack of knowledge and awareness. However, you can prevent such epidemics by taking the responsibility and following simple measures mentioned above.