6 Mosquito-Borne Diseases You Should Watch Out For

Summer is typically associated with hot weather and fun outdoor activities. As great as summer is, however, it’s also a time when mosquitoes bite and breed. Most people, if not everyone on the planet, have experienced a mosquito bite at some point in their lives. In most cases, this isn’t an emergency and can be treated with basic first aid to alleviate the symptoms.

However, mosquitoes can be a source of a number of mild to serious diseases. To find out more about these diseases and how to keep yourself safe from mosquito and other insect-borne illnesses, you can sign up for a first aid training course in Queensland. Many first aid courses are not just focused on skills that save lives, they also include ways to keep yourself and others safe. This is important to note because some of these mosquito-borne diseases have no cure or vaccine. 

The following are some mosquito-transmitted diseases you should watch out for.

1. Malaria

Malaria is the most well-known mosquito-borne illness. It is caused by a small parasite that lives inside the mosquito and spreads from person to person from the bites of the infected mosquito. This bite causes an infection of the red blood cells. Common symptoms to expect are fever, nausea, headache, and joint and muscle pain. 

This disease is spread by a particular type of mosquito — the Anopheles mosquito.

2. Dengue Fever

Dengue fever can feel almost like a bad case of the flu. It occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, including North Queensland. People infected with the virus may have no symptoms at all, while some may experience headaches, high fever, muscle and joint pain, rash, and severe fatigue. This mosquito-borne illness is transmitted by a bite from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which has previously bitten a person infected with the dengue virus.

3. Zika Virus

This virus is spread through the types of mosquitoes that carry diseases such as yellow fever and dengue. Similar to dengue, it can be spread from person to person by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

These mosquitoes make their home in North Queensland and some parts of central and southern Queensland.

Most people with the Zika virus don’t have any symptoms, and only 20% of those bitten will feel sick and experience symptoms similar to having the flu.

4. Barmah Forest Virus Infection

This virus infection is spread by mosquitoes from infected animals to humans. Native animals such as kangaroos and wallabies are thought to be the main culprits involved in the infection cycle.

Like some other virus infections, Barmah Forest virus infection will not develop any symptoms with most infected people. Those who get affected might develop a rash, joint swelling, muscle pain, swollen lymph glands, and flu-like symptoms.

5. Ross River Virus

Ross River virus is only spread via the bite of an infected mosquito. This virus is also known as Ross River fever and is related to the Barmah Forest virus infection.

Like the Barmah Forest virus, this infection is spread by mosquitoes from infected animals to humans. Most people infected with this virus, especially children, have no symptoms. The severity of symptoms becomes greater with age. Possible symptoms may include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, aching tendons, and headaches.

6. Japanese Encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a brain infection caused by a virus that is spread by infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes become infected after biting pigs with the virus. Symptoms usually take 5-15 days to develop and can include headaches, high fever, convulsions, and difficulty moving. Later symptoms can include swelling around the brain and coma. 

Japanese encephalitis can be fatal, so seek immediate help if you suspect you are infected.

Proper knowledge and prevention can reduce cases of these diseases

While being bitten by insects isn’t always an emergency, it’s important to know which cases will need proper medical attention and which ones are mild enough for simple first-aid treatment.  In the end, having the right knowledge, as well as the proper clothing and items, can be the difference between a happy, care-free summer and a serious illness from a mosquito bite.