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World Mosquito Day: the danger of a mosquito bite

by | Aug 19, 2022

World Mosquito Day is recognized every year on August 20th, marking the anniversary of the discovery that mosquitoes transmit the parasite that can cause malaria. On this very day in 1897, Sir Ronald Ross discovered the malaria parasite in the stomach tissue of an anopheles mosquito. His work later confirmed that mosquitoes are the vector to carry the malaria parasite (plasmodium falciparum) from human to human.

Today, 125 years later, mosquito-borne diseases are increasingly widespread and difficult to prevent and/or treat. Continuous global efforts by governments and NGO’s, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to eradicate the impact of mosquitoes on humans populations, have not yet succeeded in that goal.

Mosquito borne diseases

Mosquito-borne diseases cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. According to the World Health Organization, malaria alone leads to approximately 627,000 deaths annually (2020). But it is only malaria as a serious infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes. There are other mosquito-borne diseases, now always fatal, that can make humans very sick.

  • Chikungunya, a virus transmitted by the tiger mosquito (aedes albopictus) causes heavy joint pain.
  • Zika, a virus transmitted by the tiger mosquito (aedes albopictus) can cause severe birth abnormalities in pregnant women.
  • Dengue, a virus transmitted by the tiger mosquito (aedes albopictus), can cause headaches, skin rash and joint pain. In the case of renewed infection, it also attacks the respiratory and circulatory system resulting in internal bleeding. This can be fatal.
  • Yellow fever, a virus transmitted by the aedes aegypti, is a mainly in sub-tropical African countries. Symptoms can be fever, chills, headache, backache, and muscle aches. About 15% of people who get yellow fever develop serious illness that can lead to bleeding, shock, organ failure, and sometimes death. A vaccine is available and compulsory before arrival in certain countries.
  • WestNile, a virus transmitted by the house mosquito (culex). This virus was first isolated in 1937 in Uganda. Most infected persons have no symptoms.
  • Life cycle mosquito

    The mosquito has a complex life cycle. Though different species of mosquitoes prefer different places to lay their eggs, many Anopheles mosquitoes (malaria) lay their eggs in undisturbed pools of water. The eggs hatch into aquatic larvae, which grow until they are ready to pupate into flying adults. Adult male and female Anopheles feed on nectar; the females are also required to feed on blood (resulting in what humans know as mosquito bites) as the nutrients in the blood allow the females to produce eggs, continuing the cycle.

    Whereas anopheles mosquitoes can fly larger distances, and is active between dusk and dawn, the aedes species has limited flying ambitions but is active during day-time. The tiger mosquito also prefers urban areas for that reason, a blood meal is always nearby.

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    Care Plus® aims for a malaria-free world. In specific terms, we do this with our Buy One, Give One campaign, in which 1% of our turnover goes to this higher goal of making the world malaria-free by 2030. Will you join the fight?

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