Mosquitoes can be annoying when they buzz around you, and everyone hates their bites, which can swell and linger for days. However, they can be much more dangerous than just a nuisance. Mosquitoes are one of the biggest vectors of disease worldwide and can be very dangerous.
When its long, tubular mouth, called a proboscis, penetrates the infected host’s skin, the pathogen is transferred to the mosquito. If the infected mosquito attacks a new, uninfected host, that host will also become infected. The best known diseases are malaria, chikungunya, dengue, West Nile virus or Zika. All of these diseases are caused by a virus or parasite carried by vectors such as mosquitoes.
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite. Infected Anopheles mosquitoes transmit the parasite after reproducing inside the mosquito. These mosquitoes only bite at dawn and dusk. If transmission of the pathogen occurs, it enters the bloodstream and thus reaches the liver, where it spreads.
Malaria is a flu-like illness that is associated with fever, headache, vomiting and chills. The first symptoms usually appear after ten days, up to four weeks. Depending on the type of parasite transmitted, the course of the disease can be particularly severe and even fatal. However, with medication and prevention, a fatal outcome can be avoided.
Almost half of the world’s population is threatened by malaria, which is widespread in many countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Pacific and the Caribbean. Despite this, there is no vaccine against these diseases, only medicines to try to prevent or alleviate the symptoms, so it is important to raise awareness about the risk of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and how to protect yourself against their bites.
Dengue is an infectious disease caused by a virus that can be transmitted by vectors, such as daytime mosquitoes of the species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It is an illness with flu-like symptoms that can include headache, fatigue, fever, rash, and joint and muscle pain. A hallmark of dengue fever is the “dengue triad”, which describes persistent symptoms of fever, headache and rash.
The incubation period can last from 3 to 15 days. Usually the first signs begin gradually between five and eight days. The acute phase of the illness can last up to two weeks, while it often takes several weeks to fully recover. Even so, typical dengue fever is fatal in less than 1% of cases. Early detection is necessary to avoid death after infection.
The virus is widespread in many countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Pacific and the Caribbean. The global incidence has increased dramatically in recent decades: today, half of the world’s population is at risk. Despite this, there is no specific vaccine for humans, so it is important to raise awareness about the risk of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and how to protect yourself against their bites.
Chikungunya fever is a tropical infectious disease associated with fever, debilitating joint pain, chills, and other flu-like symptoms. The virus of this disease is transmitted by vectors such as daytime mosquitoes of the species Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus.
Once infected, the first symptoms appear within three to seven days. In general, after a week most symptoms pass, but joint pain can last for months. In some cases, it can lead to eye problems, inflammation of the heart, liver, brain, kidneys or even death.
Chikungunya fever occurs in African and Asian countries, as well as the Indian subcontinent. However, mosquitoes carrying this virus have also spread in the Americas and Europe in recent decades. As a consequence, a local outbreak of chikungunya fever first occurred in 2007 in northeastern Italy. Other cases have been reported in France and Croatia. As there is no specific vaccine for humans, it is important to raise awareness about the risk of mosquito-borne diseases and how to protect yourself against mosquito bites.
West Nile Fever
West Nile fever is a flu-like illness that occurs in many countries in Africa, Europe, North America and West Asia, as well as the Near East. In recent years, the number of reported cases in Europe has increased.
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, rash, fever, headache, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes. A severe course of illness (eg, West Nile encephalitis or meningitis) can cause headaches, neck stiffness, high fever, disorientation, tremors, and muscle weakness or even paralysis. The virus can even cause a neurological disease that ends in death.
West Nile fever is transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Culex. The virus mainly infects birds, but if mosquitoes feed on the blood of an infected bird, they can transmit it to humans. As there is no specific vaccine for humans, it is important to raise awareness about the risk of mosquito-borne diseases and how to protect yourself against mosquito bites.
Zika fever is an infectious viral disease that can be transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, joint and muscle pain, as well as skin rash and conjunctivitis. However, Zika is usually mild and most symptoms go away after four to seven days. As the course of the disease is usually mild, many patients do not realize that they have been infected with the virus and continue to infect others. Zika can even be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby, which can cause certain birth defects.
Since 2007, several outbreaks have occurred in countries in the Pacific region, Africa and Southeast Asia. In 2015, Brazil and other countries also experienced outbreaks. As there is no specific vaccine for humans, it is important to raise awareness about the risk of mosquito-borne diseases and how to protect yourself against mosquito bites.