Mosquitoes, besides being an irritating and painful, act as carriers for a host of diseases. Many of them fatal. Some common mosquito borne diseases are: malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, filariasis, tularemia, dirofilariasis, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Ross River fever, Barmah Forest fever, La Crosse encephalitis, and Zika fever.
However, some diseases are more rampant than others in India. Insects love warm, tropical climate which enables them to breed and live in large numbers. Given India’s warm, tropical climate, it is no surprise that mosquitoes are such a menace throughout the nation.
In this article, we look at deadliest mosquito borne diseases in India.
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Dengue Fever :
Dengue Fever is caused by Dengue virus, which is carried by the Aedes mosquito. The Aedes mosquitoes are mostly active during the day, unlike other kinds of mosquitoes.
Dengue Fever is rampant in India, with Southern States hit worst. In 2017, there were over 1,57,220 reported cases of Dengue Fever in India. Out of this, Kerala was the worst hit state with 19,912 cases, followed by Tamil Nadu with 23,035 cases.
There were a total of 250 reported deaths due to Dengue fever. Worst hit states were:
Tamil Nadu – 63 deaths , Maharashtra -41 deaths, Kerala – 37 deaths, West Bengal -19 deaths, Rajasthan – 16 deaths.
There are four different strands of Dengue Virus: DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4. This makes it possible for the same person to be infected multiple times.
Symptoms of Dengue: Joint pain, High Fever, Vomiting, etc.
Fatality: Dengue Fever is a deadly condition that can result in death if not diagnosed early.
Malaria is caused by parasitic, unicellular organisms belonging to the category known as Plasmodium. The disease is transmitted by female Anopheles mosquito.
In the year 2017, there were 5,33,481 registered cases of Malaria in India, resulting in 103 deaths. Orissa had topped the list with 352140 cases, followed by Chhattisgarh with 1,41,310 registered cases.
States with most malaria deaths were:
West Bengal: 29 deaths, Orissa, 25 deaths, Maharashtra 19 deaths, Meghalaya 11 deaths.
Symptoms of Malaria: headache, fever, shivering, joint pain, vomiting, hemolytic anemia, jaundice, hemoglobin in the urine, retinal damage, and convulsions.
Fatality: Malaria can result in death if not diagnosed early.
Japanese Encephalitis :
Japanese encephalitis is caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus. It is commonly spread through Culex mosquito.
In the year 2017, there were 2,043 registered cases of Japanese Encephalitis, resulting in 230 deaths. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 675 cases, followed by Assam with 612 cases.
States with most Japanese Encephalitis deaths were:
Assam – 88 deaths, Uttar Pradesh – 80 deaths, West Bengal -34 deaths, Manipur -11 deaths, Bihar -10 deaths
Symptoms of Japanese Encephalitis: neck rigidity, cachexia, hemiparesis, convulsions and a raised body temperature between 38–41 °C (100.4–105.8 °F). Mental retardation is usually developed.
Fatality: Japanese Encephalitis can result in death if not diagnosed early.
Chikungunya is caused by chikungunya virus, which like Dengue is carried by the Aedes mosquito. The Aedes mosquitoes are mostly active during the day, unlike other kinds of mosquitoes.
In 2017, there were 62,268 registered cases of Chikungunya in India with no registered deaths. Karnataka topped the list with 31,644 cases, followed by Gujarat (7670 cases), and Maharashtra (7639 cases).
Symptoms of Chikungunya:
fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and a rash. Most people effectively recover within a week, but joint pain may last for several months. In addition, it may cause limb deformity which lasts for months.
Fatality: In most cases, Chikungunya is not fatal. The fatality ratio is 1 in 1,000. Fatality is mainly in weak patients, such as very young children, very old people, or people with other health problems.
Also known as Lymphatic filariasis, Elephantiasis is caused by parasitic worms known as filarial worms. The disease is transmitted by Culex, Aedes, Anopheles and Mansonia mosquitoes.
India is all set to meet her target of completely eliminating Elephantiasis by 2020 and the number of occurrences of the disease have decreased drastically.
Symptoms of Elephantiasis: severe swelling in the arms, legs, breasts, or genitals
Fatality: Elephantiasis rarely causes death.