Mosquito-borne diseases are those that are spread when an infected mosquito bites a healthy person. The Zika Virus, West Nile Virus, Chikungunya Virus, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, and Malaria are some common diseases spread by mosquitoes. Although a person will not instantly become sick in most cases. Some people experience a mild and short-term fever or sometimes severe or long-term illness. In some severe cases, a mosquito-borne disease may also cause death.

What are Mosquito-Borne Diseases?

When a mosquito consumes blood, it also ingests any viruses or parasites present in the body of the person. Through its saliva, the mosquito can transmit these viruses and parasites to the next person it bites. The disease that is spread in this way from mosquito to human (when the mosquito feeds on a human) is known as Mosquito-borne disease.

Mosquito-borne diseases are commonly prevalent at this time of the year, i.e. monsoon. Hence, it is the need of the hour to stay healthy and take necessary precautions to prevent mosquito-borne diseases. Its symptoms may include – high fever and chills, joint pain, myalgia, and headaches.

Factors such as urbanization, travel, and population growth have increased the ability of mosquitos to develop and spread disease on a huge scale. People working outdoors, travelers, laboratory workers with mosquito disease samples are prone to mosquito-borne diseases. Even health care workers who take care of patients infected with such diseases are at higher risk of disease transmission. In such cases, a high vigilance should be maintained with good precautionary measures to ensure safety and encourage a healthy life.

Now let’s discuss the major mosquito-borne disease, their causes, symptoms, and prevention measures.

Dengue Fever

The cause of Dengue fever is the Dengue virus. The Dengue virus causes a flu-like condition known as break-bone fever. It is caused when an Aedes mosquito carrying the virus bites a healthy individual. One may exhibit symptoms three to fourteen days after infection. Dengue fever can also progress to dengue hemorrhagic fever, a more serious form of the disease characterized by symptoms such as bleeding under the skin and frequent vomiting. If the patient’s fever persists, he or she will need to be admitted to the hospital and get proper treatment.

Causes:

Dengue is caused due to four viruses, namely – DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4. The disease is transmitted when a healthy person is bitten by a mosquito and the virus enters the individual’s bloodstream, from where it spreads further in the body.
Once a person recovers, he/she is immune to that particular virus but not to the other three.

Symptoms:

Normally the symptoms of this disease are not easily identifiable as it is a virus. But the symptoms include:

  • Fever of 104 F degrees
  • Headache
  • Muscle, bone, and joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Swollen glands
  • Rashes

Treatment:

Medication – Painkillers and drips in case of dehydration
Drink plenty of water and take proper liquid supplements to make sure the body does not easily dehydrate.
Maintain proper hygiene

Malaria

Malaria is a parasitic disease caused by the plasmodium parasite. This parasite is transmitted to the human body through an infected mosquito bite. Malaria can be treated by a medical professional and requires a proper medical diagnosis. If the illness is short-term and not severe, it can be treated easily within a few days. But under critical situations, the patient needs emergency care.

Causes:

Malaria is caused by the plasmodium parasite, which is a single-celled parasite. Mosquito bites are the most prevalent way for the parasite to infect humans. Malaria spreads through red blood cells, hence people can also catch an infection from exposed blood.

Symptoms:

  • Chills
  • Fever and sweating
  • Headache
  • Muscle, bone, and joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Cough
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain

Treatment:

Malaria treatment varies depending on the type of malaria and the severity of the condition. Malaria is a treatable disease and can be treated by medical professionals. It requires proper medical diagnosis, with proper lab tests. There are good medicines and vaccines available for its treatment but should be taken only on the doctor’s recommendation.

Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by an infected mosquito. This is not a severe disease and in most cases, it heals within a week. Chikungunya shows some similar signs as Zika and Dengue. However, do not ignore the symptoms and seek immediate medical treatment.

Causes:

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by an infected mosquito. It is an RNA virus that belongs to the alphavirus genus of the family Togaviridae.

Symptoms:

  • Fever and sweating
  • Headache
  • Muscle, bone, and joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Nose bleeding
  • Bleeding Gums

Treatment:

Chikungunya is not a fatal disease. However, in some cases, the symptoms can become severe and disabling. There is no appropriate treatment for chikungunya, but joint pain still lingers on for some days or months.

Some common medicines to reduce symptoms and pain include:

  • Naproxen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Acetaminophen
  • Paracetamol

Besides, stay hydrated and drink plenty of water and take some rest.

Zika Virus

It is a disease caused by mosquito bites. In most cases, there is no major or critical symptom noticed. In some cases, Zika Virus can trigger paralysis.

Causes:

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day.

Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Headache

Treatment:

A diagnosis of the Zika virus can only be confirmed by lab tests and other fluid tests. However, there is no specific treatment for Zika virus infection. People experiencing the symptoms of the Zika virus should drink plenty of water and take necessary medication under the doctor’s guidance. If the situation becomes critical, the patient should seek medical care and advice.

Yellow Fever

The Yellow Fever virus is spread when an infected mosquito bites a healthy person. Yellow fever is a very rare cause of illness. It is diagnosed through laboratory testing, experienced symptoms, and traveling history. There is no such medicine or treatment available for curing Yellow Fever.

Causes:

Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The large epidemic of Yellow fever occurs when the virus enters a heavily populated area with little or no immunity due to lack of vaccination.

Symptoms:

In most cases, patients don’t face any symptoms but when they do it includes:

  • Fever
  • Backaches
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Liver disease with bleeding
  • Yellowing skin (jaundice)

Treatment:

There are no specific medicines or treatments for curing the infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Conclusion

It is necessary to prevent mosquito-borne disease. To protect yourself, it is advisable to take proper precautions.
Use mosquito repellants and wear long sleeves clothes to prevent mosquito bites
Do not walk on dirty water or keep stagnant water around your house
Use mosquito nets on beds especially for children
Stick to a well-balanced diet and include healthy supplements in the diet
Get vaccinated for the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases

Note – Severe or critical cases of the mosquito-borne disease can cause death. Do not neglect symptoms and seek immediate treatment to prevent further infection.