Almost every one of us must have had unpleasant experiences with mosquito bites. Mosquito bites can cause skin irritation through an allergic reaction to the mosquito's saliva- this is what causes the red bump and itching on our skin. But there is more to know about them as there are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world but only 200 feed on blood. As per Dr. Manoj Kumar, Senior Consultant & General Physician, Internal Medicine, Manipal Hospitals Vijayawada Some serious consequences of mosquito bites may be the transmission of serious diseases and viruses such as malaria, dengue virus, and Zika virus, which can lead to disabling and potentially deadly effects such as encephalitis, meningitis, and microcephaly.
Although different species are responsible for different diseases, the common diseases found in this part of the country are dengue, malaria, chikungunya, and Japanese encephalitis. In most cases, mosquitoes act as a vector to transmit the disease from the host to the healthy person. Dengue fever is caused by the following mosquitoes:
- AEDES ALBOPICTUS
- AEDES AEGYPTI
- TIGER MOSQUITO
The dengue virus encompasses four different serotype, which can lead to a spectrum of illnesses ranging from dengue fever to life-threatening dengue haemorrhagic fever. Malaria is a parasitic disease, usually of four types and the vector responsible for transmission is the Anopheles mosquito.
Japanese Encephalitis is caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus by the vector mosquito Culex tritaeniorhynchus, which usually is most active from dusk to dawn. This mosquito breeds where there is abundant water, especially in paddy fields. The mosquito picks up the virus while biting on pigs or wild birds and the infected mosquito then transmits the virus to humans.
Zika virus infection is transmitted by the mosquitoes Aedes albopictus, and Aedes aegypti, and felius transmission is also possible. Symptoms of this infection include skin rash, fever, conjunctival congestion, muscle & joint pain, and fatigue. This infection during pregnancy can result in congenital anomalies including Microcephaly.
The most effective ways to prevent mosquito borne diseases is to:
- Keep the environment clean
- Remove stagnant water
- Prevent breeding of mosquitoes
- Prevent mosquito bites
Prevention of breeding of mosquitoes:
- Storing food and disposing of garbage properly
- Covering all water containers, wells, and storage tanks properly
- Removing any dump tires to prevent stagnation of water
- Keeping ditches free from blockage
- Remove stagnant water with breeding mosquitoes immediately
- Using environment-friendly insecticides, such as larvicidal oil, if necessary
- Topping up all the defective ground surfaces
- In cultivation ponds, biological controls such as keeping fish to eat mosquito larvae are a good option.
- Wear long sleeved and fully covered clothes
- Use mosquito nets and screens
- Take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, while going outdoors. One can use mosquito repellent creams after consulting with a healthcare provider.
“The best way to fight mosquito-borne diseases is to fortify preventable measures, both at the community and personal protection levels.”
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