Health hazards of mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are more than just annoying because they actually carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans and other animals.

It is only the female mosquito that bites because she needs blood for her eggs to develop. The bite can be a little bit sore, but mainly it is itchy and irritating. While the bite is little more than a nuisance, the biggest risk is that the mosquito could have passed on pathogens to its host while feeding. This the reason it is so important to prevent mosquitoes from entering your house or breeding near where you live.

Important Mosquito Vectors

Culex, Anopheles, and Aedes mosquitoes are all important vectors of disease-causing organisms. Culex are small, brown colored mosquitoes that breed outdoors in ponds that are heavily polluted.

Anopheles are also a brown or yellowish color. They sit at a 45o angle unlike Culex which sits parallel to the surface.

Aedes are probably the easiest of mosquitoes to identify with their distinctive black and white markings. Aedes aegyptii often breeds in standing water indoors while Aedes albopictus breeds outdoors in containers where there is stagnant water. Anopheles can breed in more brackish water than Culex.


There are viruses carried by mosquitoes and other arthropods. These are arboviruses, which stands for arthropod-borne viruses.

These arboviruses can cause dangerous diseases such as Yellow fever and Dengue fever. Both these are dangerous illnesses that cause many deaths each year.

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) can develop from Dengue; this is the more dangerous illness as it can lead to internal bleeding, high fever, and shock.

In some parts of the world, mosquitoes also transmit West Nile Virus to people. Other brain infections caused by viruses and transmitted by mosquitoes includes Japanese encephalitis. Zika virus and Chikungunya are also arboviruses found around the world.

Chikungunya does not cause death often, but can severely disable people with weakened immune systems. Zika virus can be devastating for pregnant women. Babies born to infected mothers often have serious birth defects.

Wes Nile Virus is mostly carried and transmitted by Culex quinquefasciatus but it has been found to be vectored by other mosquito species. Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegyptii are the mosquitoes that vector Dengue and yellow fever.

Protozoan parasites

Viruses are not the only disease-causing organisms mosquitoes carry. Malaria is actually a single-celled protozoan parasite that completes part of its life cycle inside of the mosquito.

The malaria parasite actually enters the blood cells and causes them to burst. Malaria kills millions of people every year. The Anopheles mosquito is the vector of the malaria parasite Plasmodium.

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