Due to its varied terrain and temperature, India is a hotspot for multiple diseases spread by mosquitoes. About 40 million people in India acquire illnesses brought on by mosquitoes each year. One of the most common diseases carried by mosquitoes is the Zika virus, which is among those to be included along with malaria, dengue, chikungunya, and others.
All year long, mosquitoes continue to be a nuisance. The monsoon, on the other hand, is when these small buzzing insects develop quickly and can spread dangerous diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya, and Malaria.
In a conversation with Zee News English, Dr Anita Mathew, Infectious Disease Specialist, at Fortis Hospital talks about the five vector-borne that are caused by mosquitoes.
“There are many diseases which the bite of different species of mosquitoes can cause. While mosquito bites are usually just a cause for annoyance, they can also cause various illnesses in many people”, says Dr Anita.
5 Vector-Borne Diseases Caused By Mosquitoes
Here is a list of the most common diseases spread by mosquitoes as stated by Dr Anita- Infectious Disease Specialist at Fortis Hospital, Some of the common ones are mentioned below:
Malaria: A life-threatening condition, it is transmitted by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. Infected mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasite. When this mosquito bites a person, the parasite is released into the bloodstream.
Four Malaria parasites can infect humans, namely P. Ovale, P. Malaria, P. Falciparum and Plasmodium Vivax, the last two of which are found in India as well. Malaria is characterized by high-grade fever with shivering, headache, nausea, and vomiting and, in severe forms, can result in organ damage to the Kidney and liver. The mosquito that transmits Malaria is a night-time feeding vector and is known to breed in dirty stagnant water.
Dengue: This disease is caused by the bite of daytime feeding Aedes Ageypti mosquito. There are four types of Dengue virus, getting infected by one does not prevent getting reinfected by another strain. Since Dengue is a viral infection, common symptoms include high fever (up to 106°F), severe headache, swollen lymph glands, severe joint and muscle pains, and skin rashes. In extreme cases, it can also result in belly pain & tenderness, vomiting of blood, mild bleeding from the nose and gums, fatigue, and irritability. It can also cause a significant drop in platelets, which means that if it is not treated on time, it can quickly become fatal.
Chikungunya: A viral infection transmitted by the same mosquito that transmits the Dengue virus. The most common symptoms for Chikungunya include acute, high fever and intense joint pain. A person with Chikungunya may also experience headaches, muscle pain, swollen joints, and a rash.
In many cases, Chikungunya is generally self-limiting and leaves behind morbidity in the form of Arthritis. Furthermore, since Chikungunya mimics arthritis in many ways, confusing these two very different conditions is highly probable, especially if a medical evaluation has not been conducted. A physical exam and an investigation of the patient’s health history are essential to diagnose either situation before planning the treatment process.
Filariasis: Also known as elephantiasis, is caused by the Culex mosquito. It is a morbid infection wherein the causative worms are spread by mosquitoes, which then cause swelling of the scrotum, legs, or breasts. In addition, Filariasis also affects the immune system, which puts people affected by the condition at a greater risk for a secondary infection. It is also one of the neglected tropical infections.
Zika infection: A viral infection that spreads through the Aedes mosquito; it is characterized by fever, body ache, headache, redness of the eyes and rash. The disease is self-limiting and is severe only in rare cases.
The concern with Zika is that if it occurs in a pregnant woman, it can lead to congenital Zika Syndrome, which can cause mental defects in the unborn child.
There is no special treatment for the Zika virus or the rash. If a person has Zika virus, it is recommended that they get plenty of rest and keep themselves hydrated at all times. They can also take OTC (Over-the-counter) medications to reduce fever and pain, if any.
Tips To Protect From Lethal Mosquito-Borne Diseases
Effective ways to protect yourself from such diseases:
– Use mosquito-repellent creams
– Opt for protective clothing
– Stay away from breeding sites
In order to take proactive measures if you or a loved one becomes ill from a mosquito-borne disease, it is also crucial to be aware of the early warning signs in the area where you live.