- Reaching the zero malaria target is the theme for World Mosquito Day 2021
- Dengue, malaria and chikungunya are common mosquito-borne diseases
- Female mosquito transmits malaria between humans
The relevance of celebrating World Mosquito Day, an event that commemorates the discovery of mosquitoes spreading disease among humans, is still extremely important today. Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, Dengue, and Chikungunya are still prevalent in most parts of the country because of poor hygiene, rapid urbanisation, and improper wastewater management, to name a few. The year 2021's theme for World Mosquito Day has been to reach the zero malaria target and other diseases where mosquitos are the carriers or vectors.
World Mosquito Day 2021: Know the significance of this day
The method of transmission begins with introducing the parasite into the human's blood through the bite of a mosquito. Mosquitos act as 'vectors' or 'carriers' for these diseases where the virus lives within the animal and transmits these viruses to infect humans through a bite. This transmission of diseases from animals to humans is a process called zoonosis. Some other examples of vector-borne zoonotic diseases include the West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever, Malaria, and Lyme disease. The symptoms of these diseases often overlap and can be identified with diagnostic tests. The symptoms usually depend on the severity of the infection in a person. Some malaria, Dengue, and Chikungunya signs have muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, rising fever, weakness, joint pain, rashes, etc. However, in the case of Dengue, the severity of the disease can also impact organs and platelet counts, causing organ failure, breathing difficulty, and internal bleeding. Sooner the treatment is provided, the better.
Adequate awareness through campaigns can help identify symptoms when people get infected. Since the rise in infection is largely seasonal, these awareness campaigns are targeted before the monsoons, which are usually peak season for these diseases since mosquitos breed in stagnant water.
According to Dr Monica Goel, Consultant Physician from PD Hinduja Hospital & MRC, "Lack of awareness about the diseases and infection, especially in rural areas is one of the major shortcomings that restrict people from accessing the treatment. Statistically speaking the cases of mosquito-borne diseases in India have reduced over the last couple of years however, there is still plenty to be done. The lack of access to platelets for patients that require an urgent platelet transfusion in emergency cases is also one of the biggest barriers."
Mosquito-borne disease-related deaths are preventable, provided they are recognised and caught early. Today, more doctors are on alert, to diagnose and provide treatment, timely. The diagnosis steps include the early detection of the illness through immediate blood tests, which would take only a couple of hours. Then this would automatically enable prompt and proper treatment.
Since most of these diseases require preventative care, Dr Goel says some simple tips to be followed to prevent possible infection. Some of these tips include using mosquito repellents when going outside, wearing full sleeves, putting up mosquito nets on windows and keeping surroundings clean. Adequate measures should be taken to protect oneself and family members.
(Dr Monica Goel is a Consultant Physician at PD Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mumbai)
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