Despite their size, mosquitoes have been one of the most dangerous animals in the world. It can make you sick. Not only sick, but the illness it brings is lethal and can kill.
According to the Center for Disease Vector Research at the University of California Riverside, mosquitoes are the primary vectors for major human diseases. It infects hundreds of millions of humans worldwide and kills millions each year. It even reported that more than 50 percent of the world’s population is at risk from mosquito-borne diseases.
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What are the diseases brought by mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes are vectors of deadly diseases that killed an average of 700 million people yearly, such as:
Malaria is caused by parasites that you get when an infected mosquito bites you. It is one of the significant death cause worldwide. Malaria is common in warm climates and has the deadliest type in Africa, the southern part of the Sahara Desert. Symptoms of malaria are chills, flu-like symptoms, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice. At present, some medications can treat malaria.
According to the CDC, yellow fever is commonly present in Africa and South America. It has a high mortality rate; hence, many countries like Ghana and Brazil require vaccination for Yellow Fever. Mild symptoms are fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, abdominal and muscle pains, while severe symptoms include hepatitis and hemorrhagic fever.
Chikungunya is transmitted by an infected mosquito called Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Chikungunya came from Kimakonde that means “to become contorted”. It refers to the appearance of a stooped joint. It has been identified in more than 40 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The latest outbreak was in 2011, according to the World Health Organization. Symptoms usually appear between 4 to 7 days after one has been bitten. This virus shares some clinical signs as dengue, such as high fever, joint pain and swelling, rashes, headache, muscle pain, nausea, and fatigue.
West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus is a common virus spread in the United States and appeared in 1999. A high number of cases occur during mosquito season, from summer through fall. There are usually no or mild symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands. Yet, older people and those with weakened immune systems are at risk. Once the West Nile virus enters the brain, it can be life-threatening. It can lead to encephalitis or even meningitis.
Dengue fever is only spread by a mosquito called Aedes aegypti. The dengue mosquito is recognizable with its dark color and white stripes.
With an estimated 400 million per year, dengue can infect people four times. Dengue is the cause of many deaths in some countries in Asia and Latin America. In 2020, many countries recorded an increase in the number of cases, such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Cook Islands, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mayotte (Fr), Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Yemen.
Severe dengue cases are called hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets, blood plasma leakage, and dangerously low blood pressure. Early detection of dengue cases is necessary to lower the mortality rate.
The dengue mosquito is active during the day but can also bites at night in well-lit areas.
If you get bitten by the dengue mosquito you should avoid scratching the bitten area and apply over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamine cream. If you feel sick, particularly if you have a fever, talk to a healthcare provider.
Filariasis is a disease caused by the parasite of roundworms of Filarioidea but is spread by black flies and mosquitoes through blood-transmission. Filariasis is identified in southern Asia, Africa, South Pacific, and South America. This disease leads to elephantiasis – the swelling of the lower extremities.
Zika virus was first identified in 1947 in the Ziika forest in Uganda, hence, the name. Mosquito named Aedes aegypti spread the Zika virus from Africa to Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas. Zika virus shares the same symptoms in Dengue, West Nile Virus, and Yellow Fever. Symptoms include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle, joint pain, malaise, or headache. However, it can lead to neurologic complications in adults and children, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy, and myelitis. According to the World Health Organization, it can even be transmitted from the pregnant mother to the fetus, leading to congenital malformations in the infant. It can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse.
How likely is it to get a disease from a mosquito?
A healthy person is unlikely to get diseases from mosquitoes. The chance to get sick is very small, and if it happens, there is a higher chance of recovery. However, a person with a compromised immune system can become seriously ill when infected with mosquito-borne diseases. Most mosquito-borne diseases affect the central nervous system which can be fatal. The onset of symptoms occurs 3 to 14 days following the bite.
Which mosquito can kill you?
Are mosquitoes dangerous in the US?
In the United States, there are mosquito species exist such as Aedes aegypti, Culex, Culex tarsalis, Culex quinquefasciatus, Anopheles freeborni, and Anopheles quadrimaculatus. These species are vectors of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika virus – of which had outbreak in Florida, Hawaii, Texas, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. In the continental US, the West Nile virus is the most common diseases but over the past 50 years, the Malaria brought by Anopheles mosquitoes reported 2,000 cases annually.
What is the deadliest mosquito in the world?
In more than 3,000 mosquitoes, many are considered harmless. However, the most dangerous mosquitoes are the species of Anopheles, Aedes and Culex which are the vectors of Zika, Dengue, Yellow Fever, and Malaria. The Anopheles species are found everywhere except in Antarctica.
Where are the mosquitoes that transmit diseases?
If you are planning to travel, it is important to be properly informed of the country and its situation with mosquitoes.
- The highest number of mosquito species – Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand
- The highest number of mosquito-borne diseases occur – Africa, South America, and Asia
- The highest number of endemic species – Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Brazil
Can 1 mosquito bite kill me?
Yes, one mosquito bite can kill you if that is an infected mosquito. Once the virus gets in your blood and you become infected, you will be sick. If you are not given proper attention and medication, the mild symptoms will get severe and may affect the nervous system. This will make the situation fatal and can lead to death.
When should you worry about a mosquito bite?
Should you let a mosquito finish?
No. The more time that a mosquito injects saliva, the more chances that you might get infected. As soon as you notice the mosquito, ensure that you flick the insect right away.
What is the stuff that comes out of mosquito bites?
The stuff that comes out of mosquito bites is a protein from its saliva and plasma from the human body. Some people may have different reactions to it. Usually, it leads to bump and itchiness. Severe reactions may lead to fluid-filled blisters. To not worsen it, avoid scratching the bite.
Why do scratching mosquito bites feel good?
The human body cells release a chemical called histamine. It sends a message to the spine through a bundle of nerves spinothalamic tract up to the brain. The scratching triggers mild pain in the skin and the nerve cells tell the brain that something hurts. It results in distractions from the itch and can be pleasurable.
Why do mosquito bites itch more at night?
The cortisol level or the anti-inflammatory hormone of the body is higher in the morning. Also, during the day, there are a lot of distractions that sometimes, you do not even notice a mosquito bite. During the night, the body is at the resting phase and the sensitivity level is higher. It makes the mosquito bites itch more at night.
Do mosquito bites spread if you scratch them?
No. The scratching cannot spread the mosquito bites. However, scratching can worsen the bite. It increases inflammation and the risk of infection.
What does an infected mosquito bite look like?
A mosquito bite is generally harmless. It can be itchy but will subside in a few minutes. But, scratching the bite can lead to a skin infection. An infected mosquito bite has the following warning symptoms:
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Wide-spread of redness
- Red streaking
- Pus or drainage
- Warm area
- High fever ( above 100F)
If these symptoms have shown, it is recommended to consult a physician for the proper treatment.
Why do some mosquito bites get huge?
Mosquitoes inject saliva into the skin when sucking blood. The body’s natural reaction to foreign saliva resulted in a red bump and itching.
Children or people with immune system disorders can experience severe reactions. The result is a strong reaction with a large area of swelling, soreness, and redness. Severe reactions include low-grade fever, hives, and swollen lymph nodes.
How many mosquito bites will kill you?
An average person may die if he loses two liters of blood. An average mosquito sucks out 0.01 to 0.001 milliliters of human blood. Doing the computation, it would take 2 million mosquito bites to kill a human from blood loss alone. However, if there is one mosquito that is infected with diseases, then only one mosquito bite can kill a person.
Do mosquitoes dies after they bite you?
No. The mosquitoes won’t die after they bite you. It is even capable of biting you multiple times and they won’t stop until they are full.
When should I consult a doctor?
If you are in an area where there is an outbreak of mosquito-borne disease and experiencing mild symptoms such as fever, then there is a need to consult a doctor. On the other hand, if you are bitten by a mosquito and get an infection from scratching, you also need to consult a doctor for proper treatment.
Allergy and Skeeter Syndrome
Can you be allergic to mosquito bites?
There are people who get allergies to mosquito bites. This is called a skeeter syndrome. The allergic relations are enough to seek medical treatment as it may lead to complications.
How do you know if you are allergic to mosquitoes?
If you are bitten by a mosquito, you have a skeeter syndrome if you experience the following:
- A significantly larger bite
- A large area of itching
- Bruising near the bite
- Hives around the bite
- Inflammation of the lymph system
- Anaphylaxis (swelling of the throat and problems breathing)
Why am I suddenly allergic to mosquito bites?
There are cases that an individual has no prior history of allergy to mosquito bites but suddenly experiences a skeeter syndrome. Though the cause is not known, it is associated with the autoimmune reaction of the body to the enzymes and protein in the mosquito saliva.
What is a Skeeter Syndrome and what it look like?
A Skeeter syndrome is an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite and characterized by significantly large red bites. The itching is occupying large areas on the skin.
The Skeeter syndrome has lesions, bruising near the bite, hives around the bite, and inflammation of the lymph system. A person may also experience anaphylaxis, shortness of breath, swelling in the throat, and wheezing.
How do you treat an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite?
The allergic reaction may result in fever, severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, rashes, fatigue, and muscle weakness. If it happens, it is necessary to seek medical treatment.
How to treat mosquito bites?
Should you pop a mosquito bite?
No. Do not ever break or pop the blister caused by mosquito bites. Just gently clean it with soap and water and cover it with a bandage. Careless treatment on the blisters can open up the skin to bacteria and can lead to infections.
What happens if you cut a mosquito bite open?
If you cut a mosquito bite open, the skin is susceptible to secondary infection. The infection is called cellulitis and caused by bacteria that enter through the opening of the skin. If this happens, it is important to see a doctor and you might need rounds of antibiotics.
How do you calm down a mosquito bite?
Mosquito bites stop itching and heal on their own in few hours. However, there are home remedies that can heal it faster.
- Apply Lotion, Cream, Paste – Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream helps soothe the itchiness of mosquito bites. You can also use a paste made of baking soda and a bit of water.
- Apply a cold compress – Applying a cold compress on the bite area can soothe the itchiness and redness.
- Take an Oral Antihistamine – Nonprescription antihistamines such as Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton, and others are effective in relieving the redness and itchiness of the mosquito bite.
Does toothpaste help mosquito bites?
Toothpaste contains cooling agents such as mint and menthol. It helps distract the brain from the urge to scratch the skin. It also fights the annoying itch of the bite. It also acts as an astringent that draws itchy venom from the wound.
How do you treat a mosquito bite on the eye?
The reaction of sensitive skin on the eye area to the insect’s saliva can cause itching and swelling. If the swelling is harmless, a person may apply an ice pack to the eye for 20 minutes. Applying Benadryl may also help. However, it is best to consult the doctor for proper treatment.
The itching may last for 2 days while redness may last about 3 days. The eyes may be puffy for up to 7 days.
How long does it take for mosquito bites to go away?
Depending on the individual reaction, the mosquito bite heals for about three to four days. The swelling usually lasts up to one week.
Are mosquito larvae or eggs dangerous?
What happens if a dog eats mosquito larvae?
If the dog eats mosquito larvae, the mosquito will exit the dog’s body. However, when a mosquito bites an infected dog, the mosquito sucks up the microfilariae or heartworm larvae. The larvae will develop in the mosquito for 10 to 30 days and become the carrier of microfilariae. When a mosquito bites another dog, the larvae will be transferred into the dog’s bloodstream. As the worm reaches a certain size, it will clog up the dog’s heart and will lead to death.
What will happen if you drink water with mosquito larvae?
The presence of larvae in drinking water is a source of danger. It can lead to stomachache if you have a sensitive stomach. Other than that, it won’t typically harm. The stomach will digest the mosquito larvae.
What happens if you eat mosquito eggs?
The acid on the stomach and the natural antibodies will digest the mosquito eggs. It won’t make you ill like having a Dengue fever, Zika, or others. Mosquitoes are only harmful to humans and animals when at their adult stage.
Is it OK to swim with mosquito larvae?
Yes, it is totally fine to swim with mosquito larvae. Mosquito larvae won’t harm humans and are not vectors of mosquito-borne diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are mosquitoes dangerous for my dog or cat?
Yes, mosquitoes are dangerous for dogs, cats, and other pets. Mosquitoes are vectors of various diseases and parasites on pets. If a mosquito sucks on infected pets, the parasite will thrive and develop in a mosquito’s body. When an infected mosquito bites another pet, the parasite is transmitted to the pet.
One of the diseases it brings to pets is microfilariae or heartworm larvae. Once it transmitted to dogs or cats, the heartworm will reach a certain size that can block the heart, thereby killing the dogs, cats, or other pets.
Can you get HIV/AIDS from a mosquito?
Despite being transmitted through blood, HIV and AIDS are not transmittable through a mosquito bite. The mosquito’s biology lacks the receptor HIV to recognize immune cells. When a mosquito sucks on the person infected with HIV/AIDS, the virus just gets broken down and digested in the mosquito’s stomach.
When you get bitten by a mosquito, the itchy result is caused by saliva. The saliva cannot transmit HIV as well. That is why mosquitoes cannot transfer it to another person.
Do mosquitoes bite near eyes or eyeballs?
Yes, mosquito bites anywhere even if it is near the eyes or eyeballs. The eye area is more sensitive and can lead to swelling. Applying an ice pack to the area may help relieve the itchiness. Otherwise, it is best to seek medical treatment.
What happens when a mosquito enters your mouth?
Eating mosquitoes intentionally or accidentally will not harm the person. It will end up in the stomach and digest the insect. It should not cause worry.
Can mosquitoes go in your ear?
Though it is rare, mosquitoes may enter the ear when a person is sleeping. It may die inside. However, if you are bothered by the insect, tilting the head to the affected side and gently shaking it may help dislodge the mosquito.
Are Mosquitoes Parasites?
Parasites are organisms that live on a host and depend on it to survive. The life cycle of mosquitoes does not depend on blood. It can also feed on other things. Hence, the mosquito is not a parasite, unlike the head lice.
Are Tiger mosquito bites worse?
The Tiger mosquito or the Aedes albopictus is an aggressive biter that primarily feeds during the day. It survives in a broad range of climates and a vector of many mosquito-borne diseases. The bite of the tiger mosquito is not really painful; but usually leaves an itchy, red bump on the skin.
Mosquitoes kill more people than any other creature in the world. Its small size and habits make it easy to spread diseases.
Mosquitoes such as Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus are known species that can spread diseases through blood transmission. These mosquitoes carry on the virus and transferred to human through blood it sucks on. When a human is infected, he will experience symptoms such as high fever, joint pain, headache, nausea, and fatigue. However, these mild symptoms can lead to severe cases which are life-threatening.