Mosquitoes have been playing a significant role in raising concerns for the public health on a worldwide basis for a long time now. These tiny insects have been the primary cause of transmitting diseases from one place to another on a global scale. More than one million people die because of these Mosquito-borne diseases. However, according to some researches that have been conducted proved that infected mosquitoes do not carry the disease itself. In fact, they carry the agents or viruses that cause harm to humans, cattle, and even wild animals. Not all mosquitoes are equipped with the tendency to transmit these diseases as well.
There are two major types of mosquito species that carry these viruses from one place to another and one person to another. Both the species belong to Aedes genus and belong to species Aedes polynesiensis. These two species have been found due to recent studied that have been conducted in this field. These two important mosquito species are Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus. These species behave differently from other mosquito species for instance; they bite during the day time which is not the case with other species.
Table of Contents
- Identify the Aedes
- Role in Transmission of Disease
- Two Leading Species That Transmit Viruses
- Six Useful Tips to Control
- Other Facts About Aedes
Identify the Aedes
It is essential to identify them first to differentiate these two species from the rest, Identifying them from other mosquitoes will enable you to take extra precautionary measures to prevent yourself from the bite.
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1. Physical Features
Both these species are black in color, and they have white stripes on their legs and their backs. It usually measures between 2 and 10 millimeters. The body size varies as per the availability of food and on larval density. Males are slightly smaller, and they have antennae. The maxillary palps are also bigger in males as compared to the females. The Aedes Albopictus eggs and Aedes Aegypti eggs are very much like cigars. The larvae of the both the species are active feeders, and for this, they are equipped with mouthparts as well. They also have the ability to carry numerous diseases and spread them.
2. Behavior and Habits
The first characteristic that sets apart these two species from the rest of the bunch is that these mosquitoes bite during the daytime. They also have the tendency to lay eggs in a small water container habitat as they usually prefer clean water. Unlike other mosquito species, these two are very active. The peak timings for a bite are in the early morning as well as in the evening. Most of the communication that ever takes place between the adult mosquitoes is during the mating season when females whine, and males use it to locate them. The males then form clusters to invite females to mate and release a secretion which marks the beginning of the mating process. They mate and then never interact again. These mosquitoes also have eyes to locate everything they need including food, mate and finding places to lay eggs. They grow in vast numbers in aquatic mosquito habitats.
3. Distribution and Habitat
Both the species are native to tropical & subtropical regions of South East Asia and stretch out to Australasia as well abundantly found in developing countries. In the past three decades both the species have been able to invade the Mediterranean basin and Central Africa as well. They have also reached other parts of the globe including Central America, the Caribbean, Brazil, Madagascar and most parts of the US especially the East Coast. However, in the recent times both the species have invaded many other countries across the globe because of increased number of fellow travelers moving around the world and transportation of goods at international level. It is considered that the international trade of tires has been primarily responsible for the spread. Because of their remarkable ability to adapt to different types of urban environments, it has become tough to contain them, and wider health concerns have developed.
Role in Transmission of Disease
The mosquitoes of both Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus are well-known courses for some viral infections, and they are among the common dangers that we do not take very seriously. They are equipped with the ability to transmit several viruses including Zika virus, Yellow fever, Chikungunya fever, dengue, West Nile virus and others. The infection from these viruses causes fever, body pains, and headaches and in worst case scenario they can cause death as well. There are some vaccines available in the market to shield the victims especially in the case of yellow fever. Preventive measures are mostly done to avoid the bites with the help of many insecticides including DDT, insect repellants, mosquito traps and nets.
Two Leading Species That Transmit Viruses
As mentioned above Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus are the two most important species to spread viruses from one person to another. Some diseases are spread by these human-vector contacts because these two show more biting activity as compared to other species.
1. Aedes Aegypti
Aedes Aegypti is also known as the yellow fever mosquito, and it has the tendency to transmit numerous diseases. The mosquito has white markings on its back and legs and a marking on its thorax on the upper surface as well. It originated in Africa, and now large Aedes Aegypti populations exist in all tropical and subtropical regions across the globe.
● Transmitted Diseases
The diseases transmitted by this mosquito include Chikungunya fever, Yellow fever, Zika virus, Dengue fever, Mayaro fever and some others as well because it is a vector for spreading many kinds of tropical and subtropical fevers.
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It is a mosquito-transmitted disease that is caused by dengue virus. The symptoms of dengue transmission will appear after about three days to two weeks after the infection including a headache, pain behind the eyes, fever, vomiting as well as muscle and joint pains along with a skin rash. The dengue infection rates have skyrocketed in recent times, which have resulted in dengue fever outbreak.
It is another mosquito-borne disease that is caused by Chikungunya virus. The symptoms are observable anywhere between two and twelve days after the bite. The primary symptoms include joint pain and fever along with muscle pain, headache, joint swelling as well as a rash.
It is also known as Zika virus disease caused by Zika virus, and in most cases, there are no symptoms, however, in case if they are present, they are very much similar to the symptoms of dengue fever. These may include redness of eyes, maculopapular rash, headaches, joint pains, and vomiting.
This disease is zoonotic pathogen endemic and is associated with certain tropical regions in South America and humid forests. The symptoms of this disease are acute and very much like dengue while the illness takes three to five days.
This viral infection is a short-term illness, and in typical cases, the symptoms include chills, fever, and loss of appetite, vomiting, headaches, and back muscle pains. In severe cases, the symptoms also include abdominal pains, damage to liver and kidney problems.
2. Aedes Albopictus
This species is a new found name called Stegomyia Albopictus and is commonly known by the name Asian tiger mosquito. This mosquito originated in South East Asia, and since then albopictus populations have spread to various tropical and subtropical regions worldwide just like Aedes Aegypti. Due to its close association with human beings, it has become a major pest as it feeds during the daytime.
● Transmitted Diseases
The Asian tiger mosquito is also a vector to many viral pathogens including Chikungunya, dengue, and yellow fever. It also has the capability of hosting Zika virus and is considered to be a potential vector for this transmission among the humans.
Yellow fever virus
As described above, this virus is of short duration, and in most cases, the most obvious symptoms include loss of hunger, severe chills, nausea, and severe fever. In prolonged or extreme case, kidney and liver failures along with abdominal pains have also been reported.
Chikungunya is not a fatal disease but is very uncomfortable. The victim will feel severe fever, body aches, headaches, nausea, rash and joint pains that can last for several months as well. These symptoms may develop within two days to two weeks time.
This virus originated in South Africa and is a zoonotic arbovirus as it has pathogenicity to humans as it has similarities with the West Nile virus and belongs to encephalitis complex. There are not many cases that have been discovered among people. However, the observable symptoms are similar to West Nile virus and encephalitis.
The name of the virus comes from the Zika forest in Uganda where it was first found. It usually does not display any symptoms, or in some cases only minor chills are observable. The illness cannot be prevented through vaccination, and the virus can transmit from a pregnant woman to her child, which can cause severe congenital disabilities and brain malformations. Among the adults it virus can rarely cause the Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Six Useful Tips to Control
Because most of the mosquito-borne disease don’t have any cure through vaccination or medication, therefore, it is essential to keep yourself safe from the bites to keep yourself away from the harm’s ways especially during significant resource constraints.
● Inspect your property
Ensure to thoroughly inspect your property and look for any signs of these two species of mosquitoes. Make sure that you don’t leave any mess or any water puddles around out in the open.
● Reduce contact with mosquitoes
To lessen the contact with mosquitoes you need to avoid the places where they exist in numbers. Protect yourself during dawns and dusk by not bearing your skin.
● Use mosquito traps
You can always use your mosquito traps as they can be very effective in reducing the number of these insects significantly.
Use of pesticides is very efficient if you think there are too many of them. Make sure that you spray in each corner of your home and backyards, especially in cracks and tiny dark places where they can hide. You can also ask for help from your local mosquito control teams to look into the matter as well.
● Cover water storage containers tightly
Ensure that you include your water storage containers tightly because these two species prefer clean standing water. Therefore, it is essential that you keep them covered tightly with lids at all times.
● Repair screens on windows and doors
Ensure that all your screens on doors and windows are fixed before the wet season, or they will enter your home and it will be tough to get them out unless you use some heavy insecticides to prevent indoor biting.
Other Facts About Aedes
Some of the points that you need to know about these two species are as follows:
- The Aedes Aegypti females of these two species are the ones who bite and spread infective diseases.
- Unlike other species, both these species bite during the day.
- In the recent years, both the species are becoming resistant to different types of insecticides.
- These two species prefer clean water as compared to other species that like dirty water.
- Both these species are high-level invaders and have expanded their roots to different parts of the globe.
Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus are the two species of mosquitoes which are very distinct from the rest of the species. Both the species can be easily identified with the help of their white stripes on black particularly on the back and legs. The two mosquito species are equipped with features to carry numerous pathogens which are harmful to humans, wild animals, and cattle. Only the females have the ability to bite and transmit diseases, and they prefer to eat in the day especially during dawns and dusks. There is no vaccinations or medication available for treating these pathogens; therefore, it is essential to keep yourself well protected from the bites.
There are different measures that you can take to prevent these bites. For control programs, among the active management strategies, experts have mentioned that with a slight genetic modification, disease control can be made useful and help in reduction of health risks to humans. The genetically modified mosquitoes won’t be harmful in any manner. These species have an incredible ability to adapt to their environments because they are invasive species and are thriving in different tropical and subtropical regions around the globe.