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2009 28 Mar

A Bird’s Eye View On Various Mosquito Borne Diseases

Many people, over one million, die from mosquito diseases every year. Mosquito is a carrier and transmitter of various diseases. Mosquito borne diseases include protozoan (Malaria), filarial (dog heartworm) and viral diseases (dengue, encephalitis). It would be worthwhile to discuss the diseases individually for clarity and profound understanding.


Malaria is a disease that occurs due to the attack of plasmodium parasites. It is carried by female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is believed that nearly 40% of the world population is susceptible to malaria. According to a survey, nearly three million deaths and 300-500 million cases of malaria are still reported every year, despite many attempts to eradicate malaria. Recently, scientists have claimed that they have cracked the code of malaria parasite, the plasmodium vivax genome.


Dengue is an arboviral disease common in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Although it has a low mortality, its symptoms are quite uncomfortable and recently the disease has turned very serious. The major vectors of the disease include Aedes aegypti and Aedes Albopictus. With passing time, dengue has become more common and many countries, including America, India, Sri Lanka and Venezuela has reported an increased number of dengue cases.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)

EEE is a common disease that affects the central nervous system and is carried by mosquitoes. A serious arboviral disease, EEE is prevalent in North America, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Mosquitoes including several Culex species and Culiseta melanura are responsible for carrying the disease that is acquired from birds. The major symptoms may include a headache, mild flu with fever, and sore throat. Sudden fever and severe headache, followed quickly by seizures and coma, are symptoms of the nervous system getting affected. Nearly half of the patients suffering from the disease die; while many live with serious implications.

West Nile Virus (WNV)

WNV is a flavivirus. The virus is acquired from birds and is transmitted to mammals, including horses and humans, by infected mosquitoes. West Nile Fever is the least severe in symptoms, including headache, fever, tiredness and aches or a rash. It may also lead to “neuroinvasive disease” that affects the nervous system. Other forms of diseases include West Nile encephalitis and West Nile meningitis. The former affects the brain while the latter, a form of meningoencephalitis, results in an inflammation of the brain and its membranes.

Dog Heartworm

Dog heartworm is a serious disease and is caused by a roundworm. Mosquitoes usually carry the larvae of the worm and when they bite dogs, the worms are transmitted to the blood stream of dogs. To complete the life cycle the worms infect the mosquitoes when they blood feed from a sick dog. The young worms develop in the mosquito’s body for two to three weeks and then it comes to the mouth parts of the mosquito, through which it can affect the animals. In unfriendly hosts, such as human, the worm usually dies. The disease has been reported in almost all states of the USA.

Apart from the above mentioned common diseases, mosquitoes can cause yellow fever, Systemic lupus erythematosus and a host of other mosquito diseases that infect, and kill many people around the world every year.

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