Mosquitoes Are Not Friendly
Over 125 years ago, a British doctor discovered that female Anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria to humans. To commemorate this moment in history, World Mosquito Day (WMD) was founded.
Each year, WMD is an opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers posed by mosquito-borne diseases.
Today, mosquito-borne diseases kill more than one million people and infect up to 700 million yearly – almost one in ten people, says the WMD.
From 2023 until the end of July, more than 3 million new dengue infections, 324,000 cases of chikungunya, 27,000 Zika cases, and various yellow fever outbreaks have been reported.
"At least nine arboviruses with public health impact - such as dengue, zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever - are circulating in Latin America and the Caribbean, so strengthening and expanding detection and surveillance are key to ensuring a timely response to outbreaks," said Sylvain Aldighieri, Deputy Director of PAHO's Department of Health Emergencies, in a press release on August 16, 2023.
Already in 2023, there have been more than three million dengue cases and over 1,500 dengue-related deaths globally.
Argentina, Peru, and Bangladesh have experienced the most significant dengue outbreaks in their histories.
Furthermore, as our planet changes, the geographic reach of disease-carrying mosquitoes is expanding into higher elevations and new latitudes.
Recently, Anopheles stephensi, a malaria vector native to Asia and the Arabian Peninsula, has invaded parts of Africa. This mosquito is particularly difficult to control as it breeds in rural and urban areas, is active outdoors, and is resistant to many insecticides.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes Travel Health Advisories to alert international travelers to health risks in over 100 countries.
Before traveling abroad, the CDC encourages people to be fully protected against vaccine-preventable diseases like dengue. These travel vaccines are offered at U.S.-based clinics and pharmacies in 2023.