Mosquitoes possess the ability to pose some serious threat to people as they carry different kinds of diseases. They create nuisance issues in the rural areas as they disturb the livestock and wild animals and halt recreational activities as well. The tropical diseases that are spread through these insects are one of the most overwhelming forces raising public health concerns worldwide. Mosquitoes are blood suckers and prefer blood meal with sugar that is good for its eggs. They feed by puncturing the skin through sharp injection causing an itchy red bump. The threats of mosquito-borne diseases are much greater in different geographic locations that are warmer as compare to the colder areas.
According to research conducted in the recent times, mosquitoes are the primary factors for a variety of human diseases that include dengue, yellow fever, Zika virus, malaria and others. These conditions together affect millions of people around the globe and kill numerous as well. The studies have shown that over 50% of the population of the world is at risk from these mosquito-borne diseases.
Table of Contents
- Six Main Types of Mosquito Disease
- When to See a Doctor?
- Four Methods for Prevention
- How to Protect Yourself from Mosquito-Borne Illnesses When Traveling?
Six Main Types of Mosquito Disease
According to Vector Ecology Journal, mosquitoes don’t carry the disease itself but the agent that causes the disease. Some people also have a severe reaction due to allergies they have from mosquito saliva. Following are the six main types of mosquito-borne diseases are discussed along with their symptoms.
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Malaria begins just like mild febrile illness, and you may have some symptoms or no symptoms at all if there is a case of partial immunity to the disease. The disease is spread by mosquitoes belonging to the group aedes aegypti. The symptoms of this disease can appear in about seven to ten days. It is common in tropical regions as compared to others.
The variation in the symptoms may depend upon the general health of a person as well as the type of malaria parasite that has developed. Malaria symptoms also differ from a person that still has a spleen as compared to a person whose spleen is removed.
Chills are one of the primary symptoms of malaria, and they come with intermittent periods of sweating as well. The shaking chills are also the symptoms of many other diseases as well, but with malaria, these chills are severe. You will experience your teeth chattering and might not allow you to sleep. Don’t mistake these severe shakes from seizures. These chills cannot be remedies with blankets or warm clothes.
- High temperature
The high temperature is also one of the primary symptoms of malaria. The fever will at least be 102°F. The high temperature is one of the early symptoms of malaria that might show up within seven days after the bite. It can also take up to two weeks for a person to experience high temperatures after the bite. The temperature will vary as the fever will come and go because the parasite is spreading into the blood via the liver.
- Headaches and vomiting
Headaches and vomiting are secondary symptoms as they are not the specific symptoms of malaria. The victim might suffer moderate to severe pains in the body and head for a short period as the diseases are spreading within the body. However, body pains and headaches are also common with other infections that are caused by other insect bites or ailments.
Chikungunya fever is also caused by a virus transmitted to humans through a mosquito bite. Two particular mosquito groups spread it named aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus. It is more common in Asia and Africa however; recently there have been some cases found in the western hemisphere as well.
This fever causes high fever, and you can also look for moderate joint pains as well that might get severe in three to six days. Presently there is no treatment for Chikungunya fever, however; you can prevent it by avoiding the mosquito bites. In most cases, the virus is not fatal.
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Rash usually occurs after the onset of the fever and is maculopapular in nature. It means that the rash will be flat, red area of the skin that has tiny bumps. Most of the time, this rash appears on the torso or the extremities as well as face, soles or palms.
- Severe joint pain and swelling
The crippling joint pain of Chikungunya fever gets stronger with the passage of time and most commonly affects feet and hands. The less common sites for joint pain are back and the lower limbs. This joint pain can last for many days and in some cases can take a year as well. In some cases, the joints also tend to swell.
3. West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus or WNV is a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks as well. It is found more commonly in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. WNV has also linked with St. Louis encephalitis or Eastern equine encephalitis that is located in the US. Other types of this virus are La Crosse encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis. This virus can have an effect on humans, birds, horses and some other domestic mammals as well.
Humans can get infected with West Nile Virus through infected mosquito bites. The mosquitoes get infected when they suck the blood from infected birds. If the virus activity is found in a particular area, then all residents of that area at risk. The infection might not cause any symptoms, or it can lead to West Nile fever or in the worst case it might develop into a severe illness.
- Back pain
There are 20% chances that you might get West Nile fever after the infection. Back pain will be the first symptom that you will experience. You will also feel fever, headaches, and weakness.
- Nausea and vomiting
After a few days, the infected person starts to feel nausea and vomiting as well. The back pain and headaches continue, and the person feels a lot of tiredness.
- Body aches
After some days the headaches and back pains turn into body aches with sudden and brief vibes of pain that can be felt throughout the body. Most of the time the pain release medicine is only taken for the headaches and body aches, and the person recovers without any disease-specific medications. The virus also does not have any treatment available yet.
4. Dengue Fever
Dengue fever is also among the mosquito diseases transmitted by the two types of mosquitoes; aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus. In the recent times, this fever has infected numerous people around the world. As per World Health Organization, over 400 million new dengue cases take place annually.
Dengue fever is more common among children, and they develop severe cases where they must be hospitalized. The virus was first found in Central America and East Asia. Since then it has been spreading the world over.
- Pain behind eyes
Pain behind eyes is usual among the earliest symptoms of dengue fever. You will also experience, severe joint and muscle pains, headaches, nausea, rash, and fatigue later on.
- Mild bleeding from nose and gums
You will experience that your eyes will tend to get red and slight bleeding will occur from small blood vessels of gums and nose as well.
- Muscle pain
Dengue fever has flu-like symptoms, and one of these symptoms is severe muscle pains as well. It will start immediately with the pain behind the eyes.
- Fatigue and high fever
With the muscle pain you will experience fatigue and muscle weakness and look for sudden high fever as well that can range between 102°F and 105°F. The high fevers and fatigue can last anywhere between two to seven days. The fever may lower down after this time and redevelop that might last for several days.
5. Yellow Fever
Yellow fever only occurs on the south side of Sahara Desert in Africa along with tropical areas of South America. The fever is entirely treatable through vaccination.
Common symptoms of Yellow Fever are chills, nausea, vomiting, pains in knees and back as well as redness in the eyes, tongue, and face.
Chills along with fever are common symptoms at an early stage, especially in the first three to six days. These chills and fever are very much flu-like.
- Back and knees pain
With chills and fever, pain in the knees and back also start to develop and can last for several days along with a lot of weakness.
- Nausea and vomiting
As soon as the fever starts, the person will feel nausea as well as vomiting along with abdominal pain. Bleeding also start from gums and nose. In severe cases, jaundice may also set in.
- Red eyes, face, and tongue
Due to the bleeding gums and nose, redness in the eyes, face, and tongue also appear. It will also initiate low blood pressure, shock and irregular heartbeat.
6. Zika Virus
Due to the ongoing Zika infections in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Oceania along with some parts of the US, this disease has gained some serious attention. It is important to assess the complications of this disease, and you must look out for severe warning signs. The worse cases can also cause immune system disorders.
If you can promptly recognize the symptoms as well as complications, then it will be easier for you to seek proper medical attention depending on the case. Many people might not show any symptoms at all.
- A headache and fever
Typically, at initial stage hemorrhagic fever and headaches start within a couple of days to one week. You will also experience muscle and joint pain along with nausea and vomiting.
You will also feel a rash on your trunk area with redness. It can be similar to the dengue virus rash, and for this purpose, you need to check with your doctor immediately.
- Red eye
Again, very similar to dengue fever, you will experience, redness in the eyes along with pain at the back of the eyes. It will lead to headaches as well as pain in the neck.
- Muscle and joint pain
After a week, the pain from the head will get spread in the body, and you will start to feel it in your muscles as well as joints.
When to See a Doctor?
Whenever you notice any severe symptoms, you need to visit a doctor straight away. Most of the smaller symptoms can be treated at home. However, any prolonged symptoms must be assessed by your healthcare professional so that appropriate medication can be done.
Four Methods for Prevention
There are four very efficient and useful ways that you can use to prevent mosquito activity and bites. These are as follow,
1. Use insect repellent
Whenever you go outdoors, don’t forget to use insect repellants. Any branded mosquito repellent can be utilized for this purpose. You can also use mosquito traps.
Don’t bear your arms and legs out in the open especially if you are going in the tropical regions. Don’t forget to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts to prevent bites.
3. Keep mosquitoes outside
Ensure that you stop you indoors from mosquitoes and keep them outside. Make sure that you close your doors and windows especially during the times of the day when these insects are active.
4. Remove standing water
Standing water and puddles are the main breeding grounds for these mosquitoes, so get rid of them wherever, you see them outdoor, indoor or on flat roofs and near any other water source like swimming pools or pooled water. Don’t let water standing anywhere, even in the kitchens and bathrooms.
How to Protect Yourself from Mosquito-Borne Illnesses When Traveling?
Most of the time mosquito-borne diseases are spread from one region to another because a lot of air travel is done on an annual basis. When you visit a place that is prone to some disease, then you will carry it back to your home.
1. Learn about country-specific travel advice
Collect all the traveling information about the country you intend to visit through travel health consultation. Take extra precautionary measure when going outdoors as well and consider prevention tips for that particular region as well. Upon your return, visit your doctor for a routine checkup as well.
2. Tell your doctor about the international travel
When you visit your healthcare professional for your routine checkup, let him/her know that you visited that particular place. The doctor will be able to conduct some checkups thoroughly and advise you accordingly.
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