Mosquitoes are of 3500 species that come under the Culicid family. They are present worldwide. Mosquitoes are vectors for many disease-causing parasites and viruses. The infected ones carry these organisms from one person to another spreading diseases. Yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya are some of the viral diseases caused by the Aides aegypti or the yellow fever mosquito. Yellow fever is of a short duration and includes symptoms like fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, backaches and headaches. Symptoms of dengue fever are usually seen only after 13-14 days after the infection and the symptoms include, high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains.

Chikungunya, caused by the chikungunya virus, includes symptoms such as fever and joint pains and these symptoms are seen only after 10-12 days of infection. Dengue is most common in the Caribbean, Central America, South America and South Central Asia. Chikungunya is usually found in Africa and Asia. Yellow fever is most common in Sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America. Malaria is a parasitic disease, caused by the female Anopheles mosquitoes and affects both humans and animals. It includes symptoms like fever, tiredness, vomiting and headaches. In certain cases it causes yellow skin, seizures, coma or death. Malaria is seen in large areas of Africa, South Asia and parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East and Oceania. A wide variety of mosquitoes carry parasitic worms that cause Elephantiasis that leads to swelling in the arms and legs. It is very common in Africa and SouthEast Asia. Zika virus is another disease spread by day-time active Aedes mosquitoes. It was first discovered in 1947 and is most commonly found in tropical Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands. The symptoms of Zika virus include fever, joint pain, rashes and conjunctivitis. Serious consequences occur if a pregnant person is infected as this causes a birth defect called microcephaly. Tularemia is a bacterial disease caused by mosquitoes biting and the symptoms include fever, skin ulcers and enlarged lymph nodes. It is most common in the United States. Studies show that different species of mosquitoes transmit different types of diseases to over 700 million people worldwide with millions of deaths.

Approximately two million people die of these diseases annually. Mosquitoes might seem small but are highly dangerous.

By: Roshni Manoj Kumar