Mosquito-Borne Diseases You Should Be Aware Of
Even a country like Singapore is constantly threatened mosquito-borne diseases, like the recent scare of zika virus that has made headlines around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), among all the disease-transmitting animals, the mosquito is responsible for millions of deaths annually, not just among humans but even animals as well.
Let’s look at the most common diseases carried by mosquitoes.
It is a blood disease caused by the any of the more than a hundred malaria parasites that are transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito. Once it enters the body, particularly the liver, it multiplies fast and infects the red blood cells. The symptoms, such as headache, fever and vomiting, usually show up within ten days. If left untreated, the individual might experience anemia, cerebral malaria, hypoglycemia, and even death.
It is a disease caused by the dengue virus borne by an Aedes aegypti mosquito. The virus comes from the same family of Flavivirus that cause yellow fever, West Nile virus, and encephalitis. The symptoms vary depending on the strain, from self-limited to life-threating. Although studies about dengue are still ongoing, it has been found that the first infection isn’t usually as fatal as the secondary infection.
This is caused by thread-like worms that are transmitted by Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia timori, and Brugia malayi mosquitoes. These worms live in the lymph system of adults and disrupt the balance of fluids and the body’s ability to fight off infections. An infected individual will suffer from disfigurement called elephantiasis, or the severe swelling of the legs, arms, and genitals.
Although it has made headlines recently, zika virus is not a new disease. Infected individuals usually suffer from fever, rashes, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, and headache. Transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes, zika virus can cause Guillain-Barre syndrome and microcephaly if the infected individual is pregnant. As of today, the incubation period of the virus is not yet known and information about its other means of transmission is still lacking.
The chikungunya virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, the same species that transmit the dengue virus, and cause fever, joint and muscle pains, rashes, and headache. Although it can rarely cause death, the symptoms will severely impair the individual especially if it’s not treated.
This is an acute viral infection that causes fever, jaundice, muscle pain, headache, nausea and vomiting, and fatigue in infected individuals. The name yellow fever comes from the coloration of the skin of people infected by the Aedes and Haemogogus mosquito carriers. Fortunately, there is a vaccine for yellow fever and the survival rate of treated individuals are high.