Mosquitoes are referred to as vectors since they transmit diseases from one vertebrate animal called host to another. The diseases are transmitted through microorganism (microbes) which are tiny pathogens or germs they also include viruses. There are approximately 3,500 species of mosquitoes in the world, most are harmless to humans, but some act as vectors of various diseases to animals and human beings (Sathe, Sathe & Mahendra, 2011).
Notably, the female mosquitoes called Anopheles mosquito bite the host and in the process pass germs to the host. They bite in a bid to suck blood from the host since they require some proteins found in blood to help them during the egg formation process. This means that they feed on blood only when they are almost ready to lay eggs. Otherwise, the mosquitoes feed on nectar from flowers. The female mosquitoes have a distinctively thin and sharp proboscis which can penetrate the skin of an animal host (Bernard & Cooke, 1982). The mosquito is able to bite through the host without inflicting pain since the mosquitos saliva contains anesthetic substances. The saliva also contains anticoagulants, which keep the blood from clotting or clumping up (Bell, 2010).
During the feeding process of the mosquito, various diseases are transmitted to the host these diseases include malaria, dengue, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis and Zika. Other mosquito-borne diseases are localized in Western Australia. These include Ross River Virus (RRV), Barmah Forest virus (BFV), Western Nile Virus (WRV), Kunjin diseases and Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE).
MVE is a viral disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes through mosquito bites during probing or blood feeding on humans. It has symptomatic effects such as fever, tiredness, vomiting, nausea feelings, and headaches. A person may also develop severe disease resulting in confusion, trouble speaking lack of coordination and brain infections. Though rarely, the disease can result in long-term disability or even, in extreme cases result in death.
Ross River Virus is a disease caused by an alphavirus, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. It is also called epidemic polyarthritis. It is believed to be sourced from its natural hosts which include wild rodents, kangaroos, and other marsupials. It has twenty-one day incubation period after exposure to the virus. It possesses various symptomatic effects on the infected human which, unlike other mosquito-borne diseases, the infected person does not have high temperatures (fever). The effects include joint inflammation and pains, fatigue, muscle aches, rash, enlarged lymph nodes (groin or armpits), a feeling of needles or pins and tenderness of the feets sole and the palms.
West Nile Virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease transmitted to human beings. In most cases the disease has no symptomatic effects on humans. In cases where symptoms are experienced general body weakness and fatigue are the most common effects which last weeks or months after recovery from the disease. Other effects are headaches, vomiting, rash, diarrhea, muscle and joint pains. Severe effects in less than 1% of infected people include neurologic illnesses such as neck stiffness, coma, disorientation, uncontrolled shaking (tremors), seizures and even paralysis. Such severe effects can result in brain inflammation and surrounding tissues which result in conditions such as meningitis (Day, 2001).
Kunjin disease is a viral disease which is a variant of the West Nile Virus. It is common in the tropical parts of Australia. Birds are the most common diseases natural hosts. The disease is transmitted to the human beings through mosquito bites. The disease imposes various symptomatic effects to the infected humans among them are: malaise, rash, fatigue, swollen and aching joints, swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache and muscle pains/aches. The infection may progress into a brain inflammation, infection causing extreme effects such as seizures, neck stiffness, excessive sleepiness, irritability, rigors and confusion among others. The disease may cause death in extreme cases which are comparable to Murray Valley encephalitis, even though it is milder.
Barmah Forest Virus (BFV) is a viral disease transmitted through mosquito bites and is similar to the Ross River Virus. The viruss natural hosts are the kangaroos and the wallabies. The mosquitos feed on the infected host animal and transmit the virus to human beings during the feeding process. The incubation period may be up to 21 days. Its symptomatic effects on the infected person may include fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches and pains, swollen lymph nodes, tiredness and general body weakness, joint pain, swelling and stiffness and rash especially on the trunk and the limbs. Full recovery from the disease is expected.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection transmitted through mosquito bites. It is common in South East Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Far East. It affects animals such as pigs and birds, especially in rural areas with pig farms and rice fields. Unlike other vector diseases, it cannot be transmitted from person to person. The virus causes symptomatic effects on infected people such as seizures, stiff neck, confusion, inability to speak, tremor, paralysis or muscle weakness, and fever. In severe cases, it results in permanent brain damage and even results in death. Recovery from the disease is gradual and only occurs over a long period. It affects the salivary glands of the transmitting mosquito.
Malaria is caused by a single-celled parasite of the Plasmodium genus. The parasite can infect some animals, birds and humans. Four of these species infect the humans and are: Plasmodium falciparum, which is the most common in the Tropics especially in Africa it is the most severe and causes mostly results in death; Plasmodium vivax, which is mostly found in Asia; Plasmodium malariae which persists in Africa and is most persistent in the blood of the host and Plasmodium ovale which occurs generally in West Africa and results to relapses of the host (Lew, 2010).
Malaria is transmitted to people by mosquitoes of the Anopheles genus. In rare cases, it can be transmitted through contaminated blood during blood transfusion, organ transplant or even through shared sharp objects like needles or syringes with an infected person. The transmission through contaminated blood is by the due to the fact that the malaria parasite is contained in the red blood cells. Plasmodium malariae is the species that are transmitted through contaminated blood due to its ability to persist in the blood of the host. There is also a strain of malaria called the congenital malaria, which is transmitted from mother to child before or during delivery ("CDC - Malaria - About Malaria - Biology - Mosquitoes - Anopheles Mosquitoes," 2016).
Malaria has infectious effects on both the vector and the human beings. In the humans, malaria causes symptomatic effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, fever, fluen the illnesses etcetera. It has severe effects on the host which can lead to death. Liver failure, kidney failure, Jaundice, Dehydration, Hypoglaemia, seizures, and comas are some of the severe effects resulting from malaria. Strain such as cerebral malaria also result to brain damage in severe cases. Malaria can also result in severe anemia that causes general body weakness and can cause fainting of the host due to insufficient oxygen supply to the red blood cells. The parasite affects the mosquitos salivary glands, which could lead to behavioral changes and thus the urge of the mosquito transmitting the parasites to a healthy host ("Mosquito-Borne Diseases", 2016).
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to people through mosquito bites. The mosquito initially acquires the virus from feeding on the blood of an infected person. The disease is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus mosquito species which are found throughout the world. Unlike malaria, the disease can seldom be transmitted through infected blood or from mother to child. The disease has various symptomatic effects on humans which usually begin three to four days after being bitten by an infectious mosquito. These effects include fever, joint pains, swelling, or rash, muscle pains and headaches (Ng & Yong, 2000). Unlike malaria, the disease does not result in death, but may lead to severe effects which can disable the host. It only affects newborns or the elderly most severely ("Mosquito-borne diseases | Oxitec", 2016).
Dengue is a viral disease which is also transmitted by infected Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus mosquito species. Other species transmit the disease in specific geographical areas. For instance, Aedes polynesiensis, Aedes scutellaries and Aedes pseudoscutallaris transmit it in New Guinea and the Pacific Islands while Aedes niveus transmit it in the Philippines (Brady, Gething, & Hay, 2012). Once the virus infects a mosquito, it undergoes an incubation period of about eight to ten days and can be transmitted to humans during probing and blood feeding for the rest of the mosquitos life. The mosquito can also transmit the infection to its offspring through the transovarial transmission. The disease can also be transmitted through contaminated blood during blood transfusion and can also be passed from mother to child, especially during the birth (Cunha, 2016).
Dengue has various symptomatic effects on the human host. In the febrile phase, the disease can cause sudden-onset fever, headaches, mouth and nose bleeding, muscle and joint pains, vomiting and nausea feeling, skin rash and diarrhea. It is referred to as Dengue fever due to the frequency of fever associated with the disease. In its critical phase, the disease results in gastrointestinal bleeding, ascites, hypotension and pleural effusion. The disease can cause seizures, itching, and altered level of consciousness and even slow heart rates (a weak pulse) in its recovery phase. In extreme cases, the disease can lead to the death of the host (Lodge, 1998).
Zika is another vector disease transmitted by the same mosquito species that transmit Dengue and Chikungunya viruses. The disease has similar symptomatic effects on the host as Dengue. The disease mostly affects pregnant women and infants. The most outstanding effect on an infected person is conjunctivitis (red eyes). The virus remains in the blood of an infected person only for a short while, and once the person has been infected, he or she is likely not to be infected by the disease in the future. The virus has no extreme effects to an infected person, unlike Dengue or Chikungunya (Darsie & Ward, 2005).
All mosquito-borne diseases can be controlled by ensuring proper hygiene around homesteads. The breeding zones for mosquitos should be minimized by making sure that stagnant water is drained. The bushes should be cleared and any object like tins, polythene bags or any other waste that can hold water should be properly disposed or recycled. Other precautions measures against these diseases include the application of mosquito repellent creams on individuals to avoid mosquito bites and sleeping under treated mosquito nets. Those in areas infested with mosquitoes should wear properly covering clothes to avoid mosquito bites (Vector control of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases, 1995).
Since brain inflammation and death may result from Mosquito-borne diseases, these diseases should be given quick medical attention so as to avoid the development of the severe stages of the infections (Vector control of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases, 1995).
Mosquito-borne diseases are truly menace especially to newborn, expectant women and the elderly members of...
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