Mosquitoes are a family of small flies, the biological term for them being ‘culicidae’. Though few species are harmless, most are considered nuisance because they consume blood from living animals including humans. Because of this blood sucking property, they can spread several diseases. Diseases transmitted through mosquitoes are on a rise in this age of waste and debris. Certain areas are more likely to be infested with mosquitoes; hence utmost caution should be taken while travelling to those places.
Top 7 diseases caused by mosquitoes are as follows:
1) Dengue fever:
Dengue fever is one of the most common and dangerous diseases caused by mosquitoes. These mosquitoes breed in containers holding water. So, the risk is very high is rainy season when there are puddles of water everywhere. These mosquitoes bite during daytime, unlike other species of mosquitoes. Symptoms like high fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, and fatigue may or may not be seen in patients suffering from Dengue fever.
Though the fever subsides within few days, it might be fatal at times. Hence, one has to immediately seek medical attention if they have a doubt of the same. There is no vaccine against Dengue fever, so prevention measures work best. Tropical and subtropical areas have great incidents of Dengue fever.
2) Japanese Encephalitis:
Infected mosquitoes spread a virus which affects an area of the brain, leading to a syndrome known as Japanese Encephalitis. The mosquitoes can get infected after biting pigs who suffer from the virus. Usually, this syndrome is followed by no symptoms. Several cases are found in Asia, Papua New Guinea and a few cases are also seen in Queensland, Australia. A vaccine is available in the market to protect people against this infection.
Malaria is the most common disease spread by mosquitoes. This disease is transmitted through the bite from an infected female Anopheles mosquito. A plasmodium enters the human body through the saliva of this mosquito which causes malaria. Malaria is often detected through symptoms like fever and headache. In severe cases, it might cause coma or death. It is generally prevalent in the equatorial region. The WHO has estimated that in 2010, there were 219 million documented cases of malaria.
4) Ross River Virus Infection:
Ross River Virus Infection is usually seen in Australia. Several species of mosquitoes can be responsible for transferring this disease from animals to humans. People suffering from this infection may have fever, joint pain, swelling and rash. Medicines can help to ease the patient off these complaints.
5) Yellow Fever:
Yellow Fever is spread by infected Aedes and Haemogogus mosquitoes. The occurrence of this disease is more in regions of Africa and South America. Urban as well as rural areas can be infected by Yellow Fever. People suffering from this illness usually develop a flu-like illness. Though in most cases, the symptoms are mild to moderate, there are a few cases where the levels increase and become a risk to life. Yellow refers to jaundice which denotes an advanced stage of illness.
The most effective way to protect oneself from Yellow Fever is to avail the vaccination. The vaccination comprises of a single injection. The effect of the vaccination starts after 10 days and lasts for 10 years. Only authorized clinics with required certificates can provide this vaccination.
6) Barmah Forest Viral Infection:
Like Ross River Virus, Barmah Forest Viral Infection also occurs in Australia. In many ways this infection is similar to Ross River Virus Infection. The only major difference is that in this disease, the symptoms last for a shorter duration of time. Like above mentioned diseases, this disease too has no particular treatment as such but remedial effects can be obtained by virtue of protective measures.
7) Murray Valley Encephalitis:
Murray Valley Encephalitis is a rare disease which involves swelling of the brain tissue. The bite of the infected mosquitoes causes the infection which in turn causes this syndrome. The species of mosquitoes responsible for this syndrome are seen throughout Australia. Surface pool of water is one of the main breeding centers for these mosquitoes. Water birds like herons are naturally imbued with this virus and may facilitate spread of this virus. Medical assistance must be sought by patients suffering from this disease.
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