Mosquito-borne diseases are the diseases spread by infected mosquitoes that bite humans. Some diseases that are spread by mosquitoes are Zika virus, Chikungunya, West Nile virus, dengue and malaria.
When the mosquito is infected by the virus, it does not show up any symptoms and remains only a carrier of the virus. However, then the mosquito feeds on the blood of the infected person, the virus is transmitted to the mosquito. When the mosquito bites a healthy person, the virus gets transformed to the healthy person, along with the saliva of the mosquito.
Some of the common mosquito-borne diseases are given below:
Zika virus disease is caused by Zika virus and may not show up with any symptoms. When symptoms occur, they include high fever, red eyes (conjunctivitis), muscle and joint pain, headache and maculopapular rash. Pregnant women are at a very high risk of passing the infection to the fetus. The fetus may be born with serious health conditions like microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
Dengue virus, transmitted by mosquito bite, causes dengue fever. Symptoms present themselves about three days after the infection. High fever, vomiting, headache, muscle and joint pain and skin rash are the symptoms of dengue fever. Joint pain is also common. Dengue fever can cause complications called hemorrhagic fever where bleeding under the skin and continuous vomiting may occur. The platelet count of the person may come down drastically and if platelets are not given, the person may start bleeding from ears, eyes and nose and may be fatal.
Yellow fever typically lasts for a short duration and may present jaundice-like symptoms. This is because the red blood cells get destroyed when the virus attacks. Other symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, backpain and muscle and joint pains. Symptoms usually tend to improve within five days.
Chikungunya viral infection presents with symptoms like fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, swelling of joints and rashes. Usually, the symptoms are treated with pain killers and analgesics. The patient’s condition improves in a week, but the joint pains may last for longer time, usually a few months. Unlike Zika and dengue fevers, the chikungunya presents with sudden onset of fever and rash.
The infected person may or may not present with symptoms. But symptoms like fever, joint pain, diarrhea and vomiting and rashes may be present in many people infected with West Nile virus. Rarely, the condition may progress to complications like encephalitis or meningitis.
Malaria typically presents with sudden high fever, chills, headache and vomiting. It is the most common mosquito-borne diseases in the world and has caused a havoc in many countries, killing people of all age groups. Antimalarial drugs have been the field of study for several years and measures have been developed to halt the breeding of the mosquitoes.
Both the diseases are infections spread by mosquitoes and affect the brain. They present with symptoms like high fever, headaches, rashes and nausea and vomiting.
This is one of the dangerous viral infections spread by mosquitoes where the virus attacks the lymphatic system that leads to abnormal enlargement of body parts, especially the legs. It is therefore named as elephantiasis also. The enlargement not only causes disfiguration and disability in later life, but is very painful. The patient suffers mentally, socially and financially.
Mosquito-borne diseases can be prevented by taking appropriate measures like maintaining cleanliness and avoiding any breeding grounds for the mosquitoes. Travelers can use mosquito nets and repellents when they visit countries where the diseases are prevalent. Once infected, the symptoms like fever, headaches and others need to be managed symptomatically.