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  • Writer's pictureScott Brown

5 Mosquito-Borne Diseases Everyone Should Know

If you where asked what’s the most frightening animal you can think of what would it be? A grizzly bear? A great white shark? An angry lion? Few of us would think of the tiny mosquito. But did you know mosquito-borne diseases are estimated to be responsible for upwards of 1 million human deaths per year? In fact, mosquitoes are considered one of the most deadly animals on the planet. Yikes!

Despite their size, the diseases mosquitoes transmit can have a huge impact. Here are the top five diseases you need to know about.

1. Zika

You’ve heard the headlines, but what are the facts? Zika is a virus that is most often spread by mosquitoes. Most adults who contract the virus display mild symptoms. This can include rashes, fever, joint/muscle pain and conjunctivitis (red eye). However, research has shown that Zika can cause serious problems for pregnant women and their babies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2015-2018 there have been approximately 5,658 symptomatic Zika virus disease cases reported in the US alone.

Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control

2. West Nile

In the United States, most cases of West Nile Virus occur during the warmer months when mosquitoes are most prevalent. Cases of West Nile have been reported across the US. While most people who contract West Nile do not experience symptoms, some individuals experience fever and other flu-like symptoms. In some very rare cases, West Nile can be fatal.

3. Heartworm

Mosquito-borne diseases can have serious health consequences for pets. One common example is heartworm. Heartworm are a roundworm parasites that effect dogs, cats and other animals. Heartworm mature and breed within the heart and can grow to over a foot long. The presence of heartworms can result in serious health repercussions. This is particularly the case with dogs, which are one of their most common hosts. While treatment is available, prevention is one of the best options for protecting your pets.

4. Encephalitis

Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or Triple E, is a disease transmitted to both humans and horses through mosquito bites. This disease involves the inflammation of the brain that in some cases can be serious and even life threatening. Cases of Triple E in humans are relatively uncommon, however, in 2017 some species of mosquito on Long Island have tested positive as carriers of the disease.

5. Malaria

Malaria is truly a global killer. Both preventable and treatable, Malaria no longer effects the population of the United States. However, malaria continues to take lives in many places across the globe where treatments are less readily available. Malaria is a case in point of the disease transmitting potential mosquitoes can have.

Links to learn more about mosquito-borne diseases:

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