World Mosquito Day is observed on August 20 annually to raise awareness on mosquito control. Many organizations are working worldwide to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases such as American Mosquito Control Association, Clarke, European Mosquito Control Association and ADAPCO. Infected mosquitoes bite causes Malaria, Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya and West Nile virus. The development of malaria vaccines is the need of time.
Dr Ronald Ross (Liverpool Institute of Tropical Medicine) originated World Mosquito Day. Ross during his research discovered the malarial parasite in mosquito’s stomach wall. Using malarious birds, he came aware of the life cycle of the malarial parasite. He confirmed the transmission of the parasite from birds to humans. His discovery of the transmission of malaria let him secure the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1M death and 350-500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide annually. People mostly young children are exposed to malaria in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
- Over 3500 mosquito species worldwide and 175 in the US.
- Nectar-producing plants are the primary source of food for male and female mosquitoes.
- A female mosquito requires blood to lay eggs.
- Mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animals.
- Mosquitoes are blood-greedy but they don’t live long.
- Mosquitoes average life span is about two weeks.
- Mosquitoes love light, CO2, warmth and body odour.
Malaria Life Cycle
Malaria life cycle revolves around two hosts – female Anopheles mosquito and humans. The parasite multiplies in humans liver cells and RBCs. In blood, they release merozoites after rupturing blood cells. At this stage, they cause malarial symptoms.
When gametocytes are ingested by female Anopheles mosquito, they mate in parasite gut and multiply there. Now, after 10-18 days, sporozoites goes to mosquito’s salivary glands. These sporozoites migrate to another human by the infected bite of female mosquito injected her saliva. They went to liver cells to begin a new life cycle.
Malaria Symptoms include fever, illness, headache, muscle ache, chills. Diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting may also occur.
People may also experience abdomen pain. Fever, fatigue, night sweats or shivering.
Fast heart rate and mental confusion are also common.
Stanford Health Care (Stanford Medical Centre) states that early symptoms are somewhat similar to other bacterial, viral or parasitic infection. The incubation period of malaria fever is about 7-30 days but infection may not appear many months after exposure. In rare cases, it may lead to impaired brain or spinal cord infection.
Mosquito Control Ways
- Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs.
Standing water is a great source for mosquitoes causing malaria and dengue. Mosquito larva hatches out of the egg in three days and adult emerge after 12 days. Female lay up to 400 eggs. Their life cycle is about two weeks – this is the reason why their number is so high.
- Remove algae from ponds
Mosquito larva feeds on algae and other microorganisms. Oxygenating plants and using pond cleaners will make them algae free.
- Use Mosquito Repellents
Above two ways only reduce their numbers but they won’t eliminate them. You natural mosquito repellents on your body.
What do we know about mosquitoes?- A Research Talk by Fredros Okumu
Kenyan Entomologist and Mosquito Scientist, Fredros Okumu gives a research talk at TED platform. He is the director of science at the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI). In 2009, he was awarded Young Investigator Award by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Since 2008, Okumu is involved in researching on human-mosquito interactions and developments techniques to combat malaria.
In this talk, he told that his primary role was to estimate how much malaria transmission was going on across the villages and analyzing them in the lab. As this has been called as world’s deadliest animals. The scientist says, unfortunately, we know very little. Listen to talk to know what you don’t know.
Controlling Mosquitoes Naturally
Mosquitoes hate the mint smell. You can place fresh mint around your surroundings. It’s an easy-to-grow plant in your garden and pots inside your house.
- Dry Ice
Another one that works well but it’s time-consuming – mosquito repellent – dry ice. Dry ice emits carbon dioxide and attracts mosquitoes. Place it in a container and die soon.
Natural home remedy for mosquito control is camphor. It has disinfectant properties and relieves itching and irritation Light up camphor after closing your doors.
Spraying garlic solution is also effective, yet another mosquito control for yard.
- Coffee Grounds
Everyone has coffee grounds in their home. You can use them to get rid off the infected mosquito bites.
Biological Control of Mosquitoes
Biological control is a sustainable and environment-friendly method. Studies have been done to find a biological control. Using entomopathogenic bacteria Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus is the best way to control mosquitoes. Low molecular weight proteins, metabolites and secondary toxin complexes are known to have insecticide, antiparasitic, antibiotic and antifungal activities. About 24 species have been described with insecticidal properties.
These controls have a high cost with low specificity as indicated by WHO. Yet there is a potential in entomopathogenic bacteria that has to considered after further research.
A study evaluated that phytochemicals from Moringa oleifera seeds extracts could be considered as an effective mosquito vector control agent. Plant extracts with such properties can be used in integrated pest management programs.
Recommended malaria drugs may vary depending upon the country. Below is a list of malaria drugs:
You can find the dosage and reasons to use and avoid by the following this link.
Several studies have reported malaria drugs to be effective for treating COVID-19. Chloroquine – the antimalarial drug is suggested in treatments of patients infected by SARS-COV-2. In vitro study, chloroquine appears to inhibit the replication of SARS-COV-2.
Antibiotic prophylaxis with Teicoplanin was suggested as a possible treatment for COVID-19 patients. Earlier, it has shown inhibitory effects on cell entry of SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and Ebola virus in the past.
Due to the complex malarial parasite, scientists are yet to make a malaria vaccine. Up till now, phase 3 of RTS, S/AS01 has completed. European Medicines Agencies and the WHO has reviewed this vaccine.
Currently, no malaria vaccine is commercially available.
About 20 vaccines are in an attempt – currently enrolled in clinical trials.
If you are interested in knowing the progress and development of malaria vaccines, you can check out this research article – Malaria vaccines since 2000 and the development of Subunit vaccines.
How can You Prevent & Treat Malaria?
It is recommended to take malaria drugs in case of malarial fever as you know that no vaccines are available. Use mosquito nets while sleeping. Remove standing water and spray disinfectant on it. Apply mosquito repellent on your body and avoid sleeves less dress in malaria season.
Also, don’t forget to raise awareness for mosquito control.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Malaria
Is Ginger Good for Malaria?
Ginger is natural home remedy for malaria. Ginger has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and insecticidal activites.
What should I not Eat in Malaria?
High fibre food such as green leafy vegetables and grain cereals.
Fried, processed and junk foods.
Excess intake of tea, coffee and cocoa.
Is Green Tea Good for Malaria?
According to Goldman Small Cap Research, green tea extracts have good impact on treating malaria in in vitro studies.
What increases my Risk of Malaria?
Your risk of infecting with malaria increases in travelling. Pregnant women, infants, children and immunocomprised individuals are more prone to malaria.
Do Mosquitoes Have Brains?
Yes, they do have a small brain. A simple organ that let mosquito taste, smell, move and see.
Do All Mosquito Bite?
Only female bites humans and animals. Female mosquito require blood meals to hatch their eggs.
When is Mosquito Season?
It starts from early April and runs till October. It also depends upon the country where you live. Their breeding season is July to September.
How long Mosquitoes have been round?
Scientists tell us that mosquitoes are biting since long time. Mosquito are there even humans there for about 200 million years. And in all this time, we haven’t able to get rid off their annoying bites.
Is there a Vaccine for Malaria?
No! malaria vaccines are commercially unavailable. As stated above over 20 vaccines are in the clinical trials. One of them goes to phase 3 which is the last stage of vaccine development. Soon, we can have vaccine available.