Block the Buzzing, Bites, and Bumps
Preventing Mosquito-Borne Illnesses summer can be a bummer if outdoor fun is interrupted by the irritating buzz of mosquitoes. Their bites not lone create antsy bolshevik bumps on your peel ; they besides carry the risk of disease. NIH-funded scientists are working to find better ways to diagnose, regale, and prevent mosquito-borne illnesses. And we can all take simple steps to avoid getting bit by those blood-sucking insects .
Most mosquito bites are relatively harmless. The antsy bumps frequently stopping point for just a day or 2 after a mosquito has punctured your skin. But if the mosquito is carrying certain germs, like viruses or parasites, these pathogensViruses, bacteria, or early germs that can cause disease. might enter your blood during the bite and make you vomit .
The diseases spread by mosquito bites can be good. Some experts call mosquitoes the populace ’ s most deadly animal. Mosquito-related illnesses kill about 725,000 people worldwide each year. By comparison, snakes kill about 50,000 ; tapeworms about 2,000 ; and sharks only approximately 10 people per class across the globe.
Reading: Block the Buzzing, Bites, and Bumps
Most mosquito-related deaths and illnesses occur outside the U.S., chiefly in Africa. “ But we ’ ve constantly had a variety of mosquito-borne pathogens in the U.S. as well, ” says Dr. Thomas W. Scott, an expert on insect-borne diseases at the University of California, Davis. “ correct now, I ’ d say West Nile virus is the biggest trouble in the continental United States. ”
West Nile tends to be a seasonal worker epidemic in the U.S. It flares up in former spring or early summer and continues into the fall. In 2015, more than 2,000 cases of West Nile disease arose countrywide, and the virus was blamed for closely 120 deaths .
Most people with West Nile infections have no symptoms. roughly 1 in 5 infect people have relatively balmy symptoms, such as fever, headache, or nausea. West Nile can become dangerous or flush deadly for about 1 in 150 septic people.
Another virus, called dengue, is one of the most common causes of mosquito-borne disease cosmopolitan. A dengue outbreak in Hawaii has affected hundreds of people since late 2015 .
No medications are available to treat the many viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. But current drugs can treat and prevent malaria, which is caused by a bantam mosquito-borne leech and not a virus .
A few mosquito-borne illnesses, such as chicken fever and japanese encephalitis, are preventable by inoculation. But vaccines are not so far available to protect against most mosquito-related diseases, including malaria and West Nile virus.
NIH scientists are working to develop and test electric potential new vaccines for dengue and West Nile viruses. An experimental dengue vaccine that showed promise in a minor clinical trial is immediately being evaluated in a larger population in Brazil .
Zika is another mosquito-borne virus that ’ south spreading throughout Central and South America. Because the dengue and West Nile viruses are close related to the Zika virus, NIH researchers plan to create an experimental Zika vaccine by using methods exchangeable to those used for the other vaccines. Small clinical trials may begin soon, but years of testing will be needed to in full evaluate potential Zika vaccines .
While preventive vaccines are still in development, Scott says, “ There are things we can do right now to help protect against mosquito-borne disease. ” See the Wise Choices box for mosquito-blocking tips .