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Mosquitoes are renowned for passing diseases onto humans, and the list gets longer every year. The best form of defense against a mosquito borne disease is prevention, using medicines, bug repellent and long-sleeved clothing.

Mosquitoes are renowned for passing diseases onto humans, and the list gets longer every year. The best form of defense against a mosquito borne disease is prevention, using medicines, bug repellant and long-sleeved clothing.

Dengue Fever

This is perhaps one of the most deadly of all mosquito borne diseases. It commonly occurs in areas where the climate is tropical or subtropical, such as Asia and India. There is no specific medicine for treating this disease, but doctors will usually prescribe a medicine called acetaminophen.

Symptoms include:

  • High fever that comes on suddenly
  • Pain behind eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Pain in the joints and muscles
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Bleeding from the nose or gums

West Nile Virus

This virus is common in birds and animals, but it can be transferred to humans as well. It can also be spread through breast milk from mother to baby, and through saliva. The circulation of the blood is affected by this virus, and the brain can become damaged. Often there are no symptoms until late in the disease process, but minor symptoms that can occur in the early phase include:

  • Fever
  • Aches
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Rash

Malaria

One of the most commonly known diseases carried by mosquitoes is malaria. There are two viruses responsible for malaria called Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum, and they are transmitted by female mosquitoes. Once these viruses enter the bloodstream, they are then carried to the liver. The malaria parasites continue to multiply inside the human body, and symptoms that occur include:

  • Shaking chills that range from moderate to severe
  • High fever
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Headache

Yellow Fever

Commonly found in South America and Africa, Yellow Fever is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. Yellow Fever virus can lie incubating in the body for up to seven days before symptoms start to show. There is no specific cure for Yellow Fever as yet, and vaccines have been found to be short-lived, resulting in recurrence of the illness. There are two phases – the acute and the toxic, and the latter phase can be fatal. Symptoms are as follows:

Acute Phase:

  • Fever
  • Aches in the muscles, especially the knees and the back
  • Headache
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • No appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Red face, tongue or eyes

Toxic Phase:

  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting and abdominal pain
  • Occasional vomiting of blood
  • Decreased urination
  • Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Bleeding from the mouth, eyes and nose
  • Seizures, delirium and coma

Rift Valley Fever

Previous outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever have been recorded in Saudi Arabia, Asia and West Africa. There is a higher risk of catching Rift Valley Fever if living with animals such as sheep, goats, cows, cattle and buffaloes. Often there are no reported symptoms, or a mild illness with abnormal liver function. Mild cases usually involve fever, back pain, weakness and dizziness, and recovery is usually quite quick. In a small number of cases however, symptoms can be more severe, and these include:

  • Lesions on the eyes
  • Vision loss
  • Encephalitis
  • Hemorrhagic fever

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