What Is Mosquito-Borne Diseases?

When a mosquito feeds on human blood it also swallows any parasites or viruses living in that blood. These viruses are then transferred to the next person that is bitten by the same mosquito. 

Diseases that are spread through a mosquito bite whether it is to a (human or animal) they are known as mosquito borne diseases.

Mosquito borne diseases or illnesses can cause serious suffering for human beings. 

According to a study nearly 700 people contract mosquito borne illnesses every year, out of which more than one million die. 

Most common mosquito borne diseases include: yellow fever, zika virus, west nile virus, chikungunya, malaria and dengue. 

  • Yellow fever: 

Yellow fever is a viral haemorrhagic disease contracted by infected mosquitoes. It is called yellow because of the jaundice that affects some patients suffering from it. Yellow fever causes headache, fever, muscle pain, jaundice, nausea, fatigue and vomiting. Patients start to get better if they receive imely treatment for dehydration, and fever; and preventive medications for liver and kidney failure. 

A small number of yellow fever patients develop serverity after contracting the virus, half of which die within 8 to 10 days. 

The virus is more common in tropical parts of Africa and South and central America. 

Yellow fever can be prevented by a safe and affordable vaccine, a single dose of the vaccine grants sufficient immunity to provide lifelong protection from the disease. 

  • Zika virus:

Zika virus or Zika fever is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Generally people infected with Zika virus don’t show symptoms. But in some cases there is a display of symptoms like rash, fever, conjunctivitis, headache, joint and muscle pain, malaise which usually lasts for 3 to 8 days. 

If a pregnant lady gets infected with Zika virus, it can cause serious complications like microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome to the unborn fetus. 

People who are symptomatic of Zika virus should drink plenty of fluids, rest as much as they can and treat fever and pain with standard medicines. 

  • West Nile virus:

West Nile virus is also known as West Nile fever. Most people infected with West Nile virus do not develop any serious symptoms. However 1 in 5 of those infected people develop fever with body aches, headache, joint pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and rash. 

Out of 150 infected people 1 of them develops a serious illness that affects the central nervous system and causes inflammation of the brain, in some cases the virus also causes meningitis. 

One should seek immediate medical advice if they develop above-mentioned symptoms. To confirm the disease your health care provider will order blood tests. 

No preventive vaccines or anti-viral treatments are available for West Nile virus up till now, however over-the-counter medicines can help reduce fever and relieve symptoms. 

If someone suffering from West Nile fever starts developing severe symptoms they need to rush to the ER and receive supportive treatments like intravenous fluids, nursing care and heavy doses of pain medication.

  • Chikungunya:

Chikungunya is caused by chikungunya virus (CHIKV). It causes swelling in the joints, muscle pain, headache, rash, fatigue and nausea. Some rare complaints reported by chikungunya patients are gastrointestinal and heart complications. 

The virus can be diagnosed by testing the collected blood samples with virological and serological methods. 

Chikungunya outbreaks have occurred in more than 60 countries throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and America

There is no specific treatment for chikungunya virus, however you can visit a General Physician in New Garden Town Lahore to get clinical treatment to relieve the symptoms of the virus. 

  • Malaria:

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by female anopheles mosquitoes. 

Fever, chills, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, sweating, convulsions, bloody stool, and headache are the symptoms of malaria. If not treated timely these symptoms can become severe and cause multi organ failure and lead to death. 

Children suffering from malaria can develop severe symptoms like respiratory distress and severe anaemia. 

Malaria can be diagnosed with the help of blood tests. The treatment that your doctor prescribes you depends on the parasite that has infected you.

Malaria is more prevalent in areas with tropical and subtropical climate. 

Malaria can be prevented and reduced only with the help of vector control. 

  • Dengue:

Almost 400 million dengue infections occur every year, out of which 96 million turn into severe illness. Dengue causes high grade fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, rashes on the skin, pain behind the eyes, bleeding gums and nosebleeds. 

Dengue fever is more common in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Dengue fever can be a life-threatening emergency, so make sure to see a doctor as soon as you start developing severe symptoms like stomach ache, difficulty in breathing, vomiting or bleeding from your nose or gums. 

There is no specific treatment for dengue but the symptoms can be treated to reduce the severity of the disease. One should rest as much as possible, drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol to keep the fever under control and relieve aches. 

How can we stop the spread of mosquito borne diseases? 

The spread of mosquito borne diseases can only be stopped by preventing mosquito bites. To prevent oneself from mosquito bites General Physician in DHA Phase 5 Karachi advises to: 

Stay in air-conditioned places, keep yourself covered, wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when travelling to areas where mosquito-borne diseases are common. Use mosquito repellents like permethrin on your clothing to prevent yourself from mosquito bites and apply a mosquito repellent on your skin as well.

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