On this day in medical history, Sir Ronald Ross’s game-changing discovery about malaria gave rise to World Mosquito Day.
Since the 1930’s, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has held World Mosquito Day celebrations on August 20th, with the goal of raising awareness about malaria and its prevention and treatment. Many other organisations throughout the world also host events and activities.
Mosquitoes are around us for over hundred million years now. They are responsible for diseases like malaria, West Nile virus, dengue, chikungunya, Zika. These diseases lead to loss of several lives.
Every decade, malaria accounts to 6 million deaths in world. We are still finding out a definite cause to end this menace.
Some interesting facts about mosquitoes:
- Mosquitoes can observe movement and use it to find a host.
- There are around 3,500 species of mosquitoes, but only around hundred feed on human blood.
- Only female mosquitoes bite
- They bite because the protein and other compounds in blood provide mosquitoes with the resources that are essential to help them produce and develop their eggs.
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the main ways in which mosquitoes locate their next feast. They use a special organ called a maxillary palp to follow the smell of CO2 released from our breath.
- Infrared light generated by your body heat attracts mosquitoes.
- A mosquitoes saliva or spit causes your bite to itch.
- The peak time when mosquitoes aren’t active is during the afternoon, when temperatures are hottest and the insects resting in cooler spots.
- India is a favourite habitat (unfortunately) for mosquitoes (including Anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes).
- Due to hot tropical country with a large population (lots of blood-meals for female mosquitoes, freely available).
- The four month long monsoon season exacerbates the problem, allowing mosquitoes to breed prodigiously.
- Antarctica and Iceland are the only places in the world where there are no mosquitoes.
Dr Sanjeev Wavare, Assistant Medical Officer of Health from Pune Municipal Corporation, said, “We all know the association between mosquitoes and deadly diseases. But, we are still finding ways to fight with them. It is a tiny, but most deadly insect on earth. People should take all precautions to prevent oneself from mosquito bites.”