Mosquito Borne Diseases
The best way to avoid contracting mosquito borne diseases such as malaria, viral encephalitis, West Nile virus, yellow fever or dengue fever is to take precautions against mosquito bites.
Proguanil and chloroquine anti malaria tablets to help prevent malaria. Available to purchase from a pharmacy without prescription. Ask your doctor or pharmacist which anti malaria tablets are suitable for you.
Malaria is a serious mosquito borne disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which is transmitted by an infected Anopheles mosquito. Symptoms are flu-like and include fever, chills and tiredness. In severe cases malaria causes seizures, kidney failure and coma. Although malaria is preventable and treatable, millions of people are infected with the disease every year and hundreds of thousands die, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Some viruses transmitted by mosquitoes cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. The different types of encephalitis virus carried by mosquitoes include:
- Japanese Encephalitis - transmitted to a human if a Culex mosquito has previously bitten a domestic pig or bird infected with Japanese encephalitis. Symptoms include fever, headaches, neck stiffness and disorientation. In severe cases Japanese encephalitis can cause death.
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis - a severe but rare virus, with only a few incidences occurring each year. Symptoms include headaches, chills, fever and vomiting. Eastern equine encephalitis can cause brain damage and death.
- Western Equine Encephalitis - related to eastern equine encephalitis. Has mild flu-like symptoms, but can cause severe neurological problems, brain inflammation, coma and death.
- La Crosse Encephalitis - infection often causes no symptoms, but symptoms may include headaches, tiredness, nausea, vomiting and fever. In severe cases La Crosse encephalitis may affect the nervous system and cause seizures, paralysis and coma. Death is rare.
- Saint Louis Encephalitis - infection usually causes no apparent symptoms. Symptoms may include headaches, fever, tiredness, nausea and vomiting. Brain inflammation is more likely to occur in older adults. Saint Louis encephalitis rarely causes death.
West Nile Virus
West Nile virus is a mosquito borne disease transmitted to a human if a mosquito has previously bitten an infected bird. Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms. Mild symptoms include headaches, aching, fever, nausea, vomiting and swollen lymph glands. Approximately 1 in 150 people infected with West Nile virus become seriously ill. Serious symptoms include a stiff neck, disorientation, muscle weakness, tremors, paralysis, vision loss, convulsions and coma. Symptoms may last days or weeks.
There are two types of yellow fever, including jungle yellow fever, which is rare, and urban yellow fever, which is the most common type. Jungle yellow fever is caused by the bite from a mosquito which has previously bitten an infected monkey. With urban yellow fever, the Aedes mosquito carries the virus between humans. Yellow fever symptoms are often mild, but in severe cases can include fever, chills, headaches, backache, vomiting, kidney and liver failure, jaundice and death.
Dengue fever, which is caused by one of four viruses, is transmitted from person to person by an infected Aedes mosquito. Symptoms of dengue fever include headaches, fever, pain behind the eyes, muscle pain and nose bleeds, or there may be no symptoms. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a severe form of dengue, additional symptoms of which include vomiting, abdominal pain and breathing difficulties. Dengue hemorrhagic fever may lead to circulatory system failure and death.
Take steps to prevent mosquito borne diseases. If you are outdoors when disease-carrying mosquitoes are active, cover your skin with clothing and apply an effective insect repellent to exposed skin.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention