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By Dr J.Dattu Raju
Consultant General physician
Published on 17/11/2022

Mosquitoes are the single cause of millions of infections each year. An estimated 40 million Indians suffer each year from Mosquito-Borne diseases. The illnesses are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquito bite not only affects human health but can also transfer various diseases and parasites to dogs and horses. There is a long list of common ailments caused by mosquito bites, which is discussed in significant detail below:

What are mosquito-borne diseases?

Numerous mosquito species exist, and the diseases transmitted by a mosquito bite are known as mosquito-borne diseases. The diseases carried by these creatures may have been carried on by a virus, as in the case of dengue, zika fever, or a parasite, as in the case of malaria. Numerous factors, including unhygienic conditions, urbanization, international travel, and population growth have increased the risk of infections caused by mosquitoes. The most typical diseases spread by mosquitoes are:

Signs and Symptoms of Mosquito-Borne Infection

The signs and symptoms of mosquito-borne infection are:

Malaria

Symptoms are chills, fever, headache, and vomiting.

Dengue

Symptoms include fever, rash, headache, bleeding from the gums or nose, and easy bruising.

Yellow fever

In this disease, eyes, and skin look yellowish, and high fever is accompanied by chills, headache, vomiting, and backache.

Chikungunya

Symptoms include headache, rashes, severe joint pain, fatigue, and nausea.

Zika virus

Symptoms are mild, including fever, rash or pinkeye, and joint and muscle pain. However, it is more severe in pregnant women as it may cause congenital disabilities such as small heads and brain damage in children.

Encephalitis

If one gets this disease, the person may experience headache, fever, nausea, and inflammation around the brain and spinal cord.

Most infections are asymptomatic, with no visible indications of infection despite contributing to parasite transmission. These silent infections continue to harm the lymphatic system, kidneys and disrupt the body's immune system. When lymphatic filariasis becomes chronic, it causes lymphoedema (tissue swelling) or elephantiasis (skin/tissue thickening) of the limbs, as well as hydrocele (scrotal swelling). Breast and genital organ involvement is common.

Treatment

The majority of mosquito-borne infections have no specific treatments. Malaria is easily treated with medications, but in the case of dengue or chikungunya, they require supportive care as well as organ-specific therapy because they are viral infections. Symptoms such as body aches, fever, rash, and others are treated with medication. In extreme cases, hospitalization may be required.

Prevention

To avoid getting the mosquito-borne illnesses, it is important to take the required precautions. Some of the preventive measures include:

Mosquito Repellents

There are numerous mosquito repellent options on the market, including coils, sprays, liquid vaporizers, and other treatments. By utilizing these repellents, one can reduce their risk of infection while also keeping mosquitoes at bay. Insect repellents containing DEET (diethyltoluamide) are effective at repelling bites. Before using it, make sure you read the label.

Water storage

Mosquitoes prefer stagnant water for breeding sites. Always store water in containers with closed lids to avoid mosquito breeding. To prevent mosquito breeding, it is critical to keep water storage clean on a regular basis. Water in coolers, buckets, flowerpots and other household containers must be changed on a regular basis.

Clean Surroundings

To avoid water accumulation, clean up the area around you by throwing away unnecessary things that can collect water in them such as unwanted buckets, boxes, drums, cans, tyres, flower pots, etc. Cleaning and disinfecting the roof, flooring, and furnishings on a regular basis is also necessary to keep the house clean and free of contamination.

Mosquito screens

Mosquito screens can be used for mosquito control and air ventilation. Installed them at windows and doors, these mesh-like protective coverings let air in and out while keeping mosquitoes at bay.

Avoid going out during active hours

Mosquitoes are more likely to bite at dark and dawn, and it's better to avoid going out during these times. If you go out, remember to apply mosquito repellent lotion, wear full-arm clothes and avoid wearing skin tight clothes. When sleeping outside at night, use a bed net and insect repellant.

How safe are mosquito repellents?

Mosquitoes can be prevented safely, depending on the type of repellent used. Mosquito nets and insect bats are the most effective mosquito repellents for children. In general, lotions, roll-ons, and creams are harmless (depending on the composition). When appropriately used, liquid vaporizers are generally safe (avoid accidental ingestion by kids).

Although mosquito coils are extremely effective inside, they are not appropriate for children since they can aggravate asthma and allergies and cause respiratory difficulties. Even though DEET-based insect repellents are safe, there have been reports of rare adverse effects, generally due to inappropriate use. These are examples of dermatitis, allergic reactions, neurologic and cardiovascular adverse effects, and encephalopathy in children.

Prevention is the most effective way to avoid diseases caused by these little annoyances. Follow proper preventative measures, keep aware, and prevent mosquito bites, especially in infection-prone areas.

Mosquitoes though small in size can lead to major health concerns. So make sure to take all the necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bite and keep yourself and your family safe.