With Summer getting into full swing in North America, the concern around the spread of Mosquito-borne and transmitted diseases is on the minds of anyone looking forward to a summer camping trip or evening barbeque.
Mosquitoes are vectors for a number of diseases including Malaria, EEE virus, Dengue fever, Zika and West Nile Virus, but there are a number of steps that you can take to minimize and even eliminate the risk of being infected with these diseases by these pests.
In this article, we are going to discuss how Mosquitoes transmit diseases, answer the question ‘What diseases do Mosquitoes carry?’ and find out what we can do to prevent mosquitoes from ruining much-anticipated Summer plans.
Most common in the warmest and most humid months of the year, Mosquitoes are a pest that no one wants at a patio dinner or camping trip. Female mosquitoes feed on the blood of animals (including humans) in order to gain the nutrients needed to be able to breed and produce larvae.
Transmission of viruses can occur when a mosquito bites someone infected with a blood disease, and later sucks blood from another person. This can potentially lead to an infection of the second host with the disease obtained from the first – It’s a similar concept to sharing a needle that has not been sterilized.
Even if there has been no disease transmitted by a mosquito bite, when a female sucks blood from an animal it leaves traces of its saliva behind which causes an annoying itch and pesky inflammation – so it is best to avoid having mosquitoes in your environment in the first place.
‘What diseases do mosquitoes spread?’ is a common question on the lips of anyone deciding how they are going to protect themselves this bug season.
Not every disease can be carried or spread by a vector such as a mosquito. The disease in question needs to be bloodborne and it needs to be able to survive and replicate in the digestive system of the mosquito.
These factors contribute to why Malaria, Dengue fever, EEE virus, Zika and West Nile virus can be so devastating in areas with infected mosquitoes. The mosquito’s digestive system provides the perfect conditions for such parasites and bacteria to multiply and develop.
What diseases do mosquitoes transmit? and What virus do mosquitoes carry? Continue reading if you would like to find out which of the following diseases are transmitted through Mosquito bites…
HIV is a bloodborne pathogen that has devastated individuals and families since the late 1950s. It causes AIDS (the gradual failure of the immune system) and allows opportunistic infections and conditions to grow and thrive in the infected individual.
Luckily, this bloodborne pathogen is not one that can be transmitted from person to person (or animal to animal) by mosquitoes. While blood can be taken by a mosquito from an infected individual, HIV is present at such low levels in humans that the volume of blood carried by a mosquito would not contain enough of the pathogen to create a new infection.
On top of this, HIV particles cannot survive or replicate in the gut of a mosquito – in fact, they get digested and destroyed relatively quickly.
Although strains of the Covid-19 virus are still being discovered and researched, so far there is no evidence to suggest that this disease can be transmitted by mosquitoes.
This comes down to the fact that the new coronavirus is a respiratory disease, predominantly contained within the lungs and respiratory tract, and which rarely makes its way to the bloodstream.
Similar to the HIV pathogen, the SARS-CoV2 virus (which causes Covid-19) cannot mutate and is destroyed within the digestive system of a vector such as a mosquito or tick.
The Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus is only spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is an extremely rare, but also severe condition that causes neurological symptoms as well as symptoms usually attributed to the flu such as fever and chills.
At this time there is no vaccine or antiviral treatments for EEE, and the virus can be fatal for up to a third of those who contract it. The best way to not contract the virus is by taking steps to avoid being bitten by potentially infected mosquitoes.
Lyme disease is most commonly known to be spread by ticks, and so far laboratory experiments attempting to transmit the disease using mosquitoes as vectors have proved unsuccessful.
While Mosquitoes can carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, they have not been found to spread it to humans or other animals.
So if you’re asking ‘DO mosquitoes carry Lyme disease’ the answer is yes, but in terms of ‘Can Mosquito bites spread Lyme Disease?’ the research suggests a firm ‘No’.
So we’ve answered the question ‘what diseases can you get from mosquitoes?’, but even though the risks of being bitten by an infected mosquito can be relatively low (depending on your location), is there anything you can do to keep these pests away from you in the first place?
These simple steps can help make your environment a bug-free zone:
Mosquitoes are not only bothersome with their itchy bites and annoying buzzing, but they can also be vectors for some pretty serious and occasionally fatal diseases.
If you haven’t already it’s worth looking into products available on the market to reduce the presence of mosquitoes around you, and take the steps to ensure that your family is well protected.
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