The most deadly animal in the world is the mosquito. It might seem impossible that something so miniscule can kill so many people, but it’s true. Mosquito bites result in the deaths of more than 1 million people every year [source: World Health Organization]. The majority of these deaths are due to malaria. The World Health Organization estimates that between 300 and 500 million cases of malaria occur each year — and a child dies from malaria every 30 seconds [source: WHO].
In addition to malaria, mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus, dengue fever and Zika virus. West Nile is a disease the insects pick up from infected birds. It affects the nervous system and, like malaria, can be very serious in people with lowered immune systems. The virus became prevalent for the first time in the eastern United States around 1999 [source: CDC]. As with malaria, the best way to avoid West Nile is to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Mosquitoes also carry dengue fever, which causes a rash and extreme muscle and joint pain. It can be fatal if not treated properly.
Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The biggest health risk of Zika virus is to women who are or may get pregnant. Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other severe brain defects. Other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women.
Contact Skeeter Beater today to learn more about how to protect your friends and family from the health hazards of mosquitoes.