?Mosquito Borne Illnesses
(Digging into the West Nile Virus, and Malaria)
Mikayla A. Robinson
Prairie State College
Mosquitos are known for being pest and carrying diseases. Most people have been bitten by a mosquito in their lives, but less have experienced mosquito borne illness. Millions of people have encountered mosquito borne diseases. Most mosquito borne diseases are mild, some have long term effects, and some severe illnesses can cause death. Mosquitoes are found in multiple locations and are bred in water, laying hundreds of eggs at a time. In this paper, I am going to be talking about two mosquito borne diseases; the West Nile Virus and Malaria. I will be discussing what they are, their origins, and some of their symptoms.
West Nile Virus
According to John Watson, “West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne pathogen with a wide geographic distribution in the eastern hemisphere” “(Watson et al., 2004 p.360). It can cause neurological disease and death in humans and can be transmitted through mosquito bites, blood transfusions, contact with infected animals, and organ transplants (World of Health Organization 2017). The West Nile Virus was first identified in 1937 in the West Nile District of Uganda, but the frequency of the virus increased in the mid- 1990s (Watson et al., 2004 p.360). There are over 150 species mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus, but most cases of the West Nile Virus occur during the summer (Vector Disease Control International, 2013). In the United states, it is believed that 700,000 people may have the West Nile Virus, but only 40, cases of the West Nile Virus have been reported. (Vector Disease Control International, 2013).
Common Symptoms of the West Nile Virus are fever, stiff joints (especially the neck and back, headache, disorientated mind, weakness, and seizures. ( Durani, 2015). However, most people who contact the West Nile Virus are asymptomatic or just have few symptoms. Because most carries show few to no symptoms of West Nile Virus, people are likely to have it and not know about it (Durani, 2015). This is a problem because people can end up spreading the virus when donating blood. West Nile Virus can also be a problem for pregnant mothers who do not know that they have contacted it and end up spreading the virus to their kids. This also helps to explain why people are contracting the West Nile Virus from getting blood transfusions, and organ transplants.On the other hand, 20% of people who contract the West Nile Virus also get the West Nile Fever, which causes symptoms such body aches, vomiting, nausea, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands (World Health Organization, 2017). People who have symptoms of the West Nile Virus should get immediate attention for their condition won’t worsen. There also should be efforts put out there to test people yearly for west Nile virus to prevent the spread of it and to treat those who may not know that they have been infected. The West Nile Virus Can also cause serious, long term symptoms in its patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017), “About 1 in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord)”( Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Both of these illnesses are fatal and can cause permanent damage or death if not treated. There are no vaccines or treatments for the west Nile Virus, but pain relievers can be used to help relieve symptoms and in major cases patients are hospitalized (Centers For disease Control and Prevention, 2017).
Only female mosquitoes that belong to the Anopheles genus carry malaria. Malaria is one of the most fatal diseases that can be contracted. According to Cesar Chelala (2008), “Malaria is one of the world’s most serious diseases in terms of its impact on human health. Although it claims more than a million lives a year–most victims are children–vaccines developed thus far have proven to be ineffective.” (Chelala ,2008 p.38). Malaria is a mosquito disease that is caused when a Mosquito who was infected by a plasmodium parasite bites a person (Schulman 2018). Plasmodium parasites thrive better in warmer climates, so Malaria is more common in places where the climates are warm. According to the article “What is Malaria”, “one of the many threats posed by global warming is that it could extend the territory in which malaria is a health problem” (Marsh et al., 1998). In Other words, the rising temperatures can cause the lives of plasmodium parasites to expand and effect more mosquitoes. This can cause malaria to spread to more places in the world and have more infected people. Malaria does not fully develop until after an incubation period of 7 days so people may not start feeling ill until after a week. Malaria is common in some parts of cental Central America, the Carribean, South America, South Asia Middle East, and large portions of Africa.
According to “Taking a bite out of Malaria”, nobody knows the origins of Malaria, but the first person to observe Malaria in red blood cells is a French Pathologist and Parasitologist named Charles Louis Alphonse ( Chelala , 2008 p. 39). Before Alphonse’s discovery, it was believed that Malaria was caused by bad air from the marshland or bad air. That’s where the name Malaria stem from which translates as bad air in Italian. By using his observation as a pathologist, and studying the blood and organs of people who dies from malaria, he realized that malaria formed from parasites that invades the blood. The plasmodium parasite that infects the mosquito has a life cycle. When a female Anopheles is ingesting blood, plasmodium parasite gametocytes are ingested with the blood. Then they mate inside of the mosquitoes’ gut, multiply and are injected through the mosquito’s salivary glands when it feeds on a human. The contaminated saliva then does down the blood stream into a person’s liver, where the plasmodium parasites reproduces in the liver and infects red blood cells. Malar can also be transmitted through organ transplants, blood transfusions, and shared needles (Burke ,2017).
Malaria symptoms are not noticeable right away. According to Elaine Luo, “The symptoms of malaria typically develop within 10 days to 4 weeks following the infection. In some cases, symptoms may not develop for several months. Some malarial parasites can enter the body but will be dormant for long periods of time” (Burke ,2017). This is pretty frightening because you can carry malaria which is almost as deadly as aids for almost a month and not know that you have it. If a person is unaware that they have Malaria, their life can be on edge. Common symptoms of Malaria are: chills, sweating, high fever, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, anemia (the decrease in red blood cells in a person’s body which can also control oxygen levels), muscle pain, convulsions (seizures), coma and bloody stools (Burke ,2017). These are all symptoms that can become fatal. If a person has symptoms of Malaria, `they should get treated urgently. Life threatening symptoms of Malaria are: swelling of blood vessels of the brain, fluid in the lungs, organ failure, anemia, and low blood sugar (Burke, 2017). Malaria if not treated can cause the self-destruction of your body. You can have memory loss and or brain damage from cerebral Malaria, a major organ can stop functioning correctly, or you can spontaneously stop breathing from fluid in lungs. Malaria is not a disease to be taken for granted. Even after treating infections from Malaria, patients still had neurological problems in the recovery process such as convulsions, and coma ( Day et al. 1996). When a person is diagnosed for Malaria, they are given blood test, and their liver and spleen size is checked. Patients are treated in a hospital in are prescribed medications to fight infection. If infections are resistant to the prescribed medication, the medicine may be changed.
West Nile virus and Malaria are serious mosquito borne diseases. Even though the West Nile Virus is not as fatal as malaria, you should still get treatment for the condition will not worsen. People should take protective measures against mosquitos and not hesitate to go to the doctor if they have any strange symptoms after being bite by a mosquito. It is important for people to learn about mosquito borne illnesses and their symptoms for they can be prepared for any mosquito relate crisis. There should be better efforts out there to find cures for these diseases and prevent them to decrease fatalities.
Burke, Darla. “Malaria: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 9 July 2017, www.healthline.com/health/malaria.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “West Nile Virus.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 Aug. 2017, www.cdc.gov/westnile/symptoms/index.html.
Chelala, C. (2008, Taking a bite out of malaria. Americas Vol.60, no.5, , 38-45. Retrieved from https://sks.sirs.comDay, N. P. J., Chuong, L. V., ; Waller, D. (1996). Post-malaria neurological syndrome. The Lancet, 348(9032), 917-21. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(96)01409-2
Marsh, K., ; Waruiru, C. (1998, May). What is malaria? World Health, 51, 6-7. Retrieved from https://explore.proquest.com/document/214117106?accountid=51322
Watson, J. T., Pertel, P. E., Jones, R. C., ; Siston, A. M. (2004). Clinical characteristics and functional outcomes of west nile fever. Annals of Internal Medicine, 141(5), 360-365. Retrieved from https://explore.proquest.com/document/222195585?accountid=5132″West Nile Virus.” Edited by Yamini Durani, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, May 2015, kidshealth.org/en/teens/west-nile.html.
World health Organization. “West Nile Virus.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 3 Oct. 2017, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/west-nile-virus.
Vector Disease Control International. “West Nile VirusWhat Is West Nile Virus and How Does It Spread?” Vector Disease Control International, 2013, www.vdci.net/vector-borne-diseases/west-nile-virus-education-and-mosquito-management-to-protect-public-health.