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Mosquitoes are a nuisance, aren’t they? But what is even worse is the fact that they can spread deadly diseases. In fact, mosquitoes present a health threat that is huge in magnitude. It is estimated that up to a million people die every year from mosquito-borne illnesses across the world. The bad news is that malaria bearing mosquitoes are still found in large numbers in the southeastern states, especially along the Gulf of Mexico. 


But more recently, other viruses such as the West Nile virus, several types of encephalitis, and dog heartworm have been the primary mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. Additionally, Zika virus, dengue fever, and chikungunya still present huge threats to human health all over in the United States, South America, and the Caribbean.

Here is a list of deadly diseases that are spread by mosquitoes and as always, prevention is definitely better than cure: 

Mosquito-Borne Encephalitis:

A result of many viruses vectored by mosquitoes such as the West Nile virus (WNV), La Crosse encephalitis (LAC), eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), and several others, this disease causes inflammation of the brain and the central nervous system and is marked by high to moderate mortality rates with some survivors suffering from permanent physical and mental disability.

West Nile Fever:

A mosquito infected by the West Nile Virus can transmit the same to humans causing West Nile Fever, which is marked by confusion, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, paralysis, and coma. Severe infection can result in permanent brain damage. What’s even more alarming is that the symptoms very often replicate those of Flu such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, rash on your chest, stomach, or back. Immediate medical intervention is a must. 

Malaria:

Entirely mosquito borne, Malaria can kill. Common symptoms cover:

  • High fever

  • Moderate to severe shaking chills 

  • Profuse sweating, headaches, abdominal and muscle pains

  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea 

  • Anemia

  • Deep breathing & respiratory distress

  • Clinical jaundice and evidence of vital organ dysfunction

  • Impaired consciousness

  • Bloody stools

  • Convulsions

  • Coma

If left untreated, malaria can be life-threatening with complications like the rupture of the kidney, liver or spleen, and cerebral malaria leading to coma. Adequate and immediate medical care can save a life. 

Zika Fever:

Another mosquito borne disease, Zika virus can cause rashes on the skin, conjunctivitis, or red eyes, fever, joint and muscle pain, headaches and pain behind the eyes, and vomiting. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable as this virus can cause severe developmental defects in the fetus. Supportive treatment must be availed immediately to prevent serious complications.

Chikungunya:

Though not fatal, Chikungunya is a viral disease spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. It manifests itself in high fever and intense joint pain. The infected person may also suffer headaches, muscle pain, swollen joints, and/or a rash. The virus is highly transmissible and hence poses quite a threat.

Dengue:

A mosquito-borne viral disease, with dengue, the danger lies in Dengue hemorrhagic fever which can result in:

  • Increased bleeding from various body parts 

  • Decreased number of platelets in the blood 

  • Leakage of the blood plasma

  • Dengue shock syndrome, where the blood pressure falls below 20mmHg along with collapse of peripheral vascular blood vessels

  • Episodes of reduced consciousness when the brain is infected and inflamed with the virus

  • The risk of miscarriage in pregnant women

It is imperative to seek medical care immediately. 

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