What You Should Know About Mosquitoes
Farmer's Weekly|September 03, 2021
Not all mosquitoes are created equal, say Shüné Oliver and Jaishree Raman of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases of South Africa. However, people should be sure to protect themselves when visiting regions known for mosquito-transmitted diseases.
Shüné Oliver and Jaishree Raman

FAST FACTS

While mosquitoes are known for carrying malaria, they also transmit other important human diseases.

There are around 3 500 mosquito species that belong to five genera.

Mosquitoes do not transmit viruses such as HIV, Ebola or the novel coronavirus.

For thousands of years, malaria was a mysterious illness affecting people across the globe. Even the name of the disease, derived from two Italian words meaning ‘bad air’ (mal and aria), highlights the confusion around the transmission of this disease. It was only following the discovery of malaria parasites in the gut of Anopheles mosquitoes in India by Sir Ronald Ross on 20 August 1897 that a clearer picture of the role of the mosquito in the malaria transmission cycle emerged.

Ross was awarded a Nobel prize for this discovery, and since 1930, World Mosquito Day has been observed on 20 August to commemorate this important finding and highlight the role of mosquitoes in the health and well-being of humans.

Mosquitoes are among the deadliest animals in the world. Half of the deaths attributed to these insects are associated with malaria. But mosquitoes are carriers of a number of other parasites, viruses and nematodes (roundworms) that threaten the health of humans. It’s surprising, then, that the general public tends to be ill-informed about mosquitoes in general.

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