In many different countries, mosquito infestations occur at various times of the year. The ones that occur throughout the summer originate from the ideal breeding conditions, which end with an explosion in the mosquito population. The itching and discomfort caused by mosquito bites are indisputable. When you scratch the bite, you irritate the surrounding tissue, which leads to the development of a red, raised lump on the skin. If you are bitten by a mosquito, does it mean that you are also at risk of contracting a disease?
The Rise in Animal Transmitted Diseases
The incidence of diseases transmitted by animals is growing at an alarming rate around the world, especially in the Far East. In the past, residents of Central Europe have been diagnosed with malaria despite having never left the area where they live. But veterinarians and other specialists believe that there is currently no cause for concern in this region for mosquito infection.
Researchers discovered a few cases of virus transmission in the previous year, despite the unusual nature of the transmission. The Sindbis virus is a mildly dangerous virus that can occasionally result in meningitis. It is carried by the common Culex pipiens mosquito.
However, the population of the Asian bush mosquito, also known as Aedes japonicus, is increasing at an alarming rate, especially across Central Europe. Throughout the past few years, areas that encompass a land area of approximately 2,000 square kilometers have been plagued by an extremely active vector of diseases such as the West Nile virus. It wasn’t until the year 2012 that researchers were able to prove that a breeding population of this particular species of mosquito had indeed been established in Europe.
The Asian tiger mosquito, scientifically known as Stegomyia albopicta, has already established a breeding population in the area. The bloodsucker known to carry exotic diseases has been linked to the transmission of viruses, including West Nile and tropical dengue fever. In recent years, the mosquitoes that are responsible for transmitting the dengue and chikungunya viruses to people have been discovered in southern Europe.
Dog Tapeworm Is Carried by Mosquitoes
The larvae of the canine tapeworm, Dirofilaria repens, were found for the first time in Europe. This part of the world did not have any previous encounters with the parasite until very recently. Although mosquitoes are the most likely vector for transmission of these parasitic worms to humans, dogs continue to be the most common hosts for them. As of yet, there have been no reports of human illnesses acquired in the area.
Researchers have detected larvae of the dog skin worm Dirofilaria repens in mosquitoes for the first time in Central Europe. The parasite was previously not native to the land. Parasitic worms are found in dogs, but in rare cases, mosquitoes also transmit the infection to humans. So far, however, no human infections acquired in the area.
So, people are still relatively safe for the time being. However, if global temperatures continue to rise this may change in the future.
- Johnson, N., de Marco, M. F., Giovannini, A., Ippoliti, C., Danzetta, M. L., Svartz, G., Erster, O., Groschup, M. H., Ziegler, U. (2018, December 7). Emerging Mosquito-Borne Threats and the Response from European and Eastern Mediterranean Countries. PubMed Central (PMC). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122775
- News, C. H. (n.d.). Mosquito-Borne Disease Could Threaten Half the Globe by 2050. Scientific American.