Malaria mosquito - how dangerous it is and where it lives

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Malaria mosquitoes, although they are dangerous insects, are not as widely known in Russia as they are abroad. The country is home to a small number of species of these mosquitoes, while in the world their number reaches 440. They are the source of many infectious diseases, including malaria, and can pose a serious threat to humans.

What are malaria mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes, as carriers of dangerous infections, can attack both indoors and outdoors. Although the common anopheles mosquito, known as Anopheles maculipennis, may appear ordinary at first glance, it has several distinctive features. Here are some of them:
— Unusually long hind limbs, twice the size of the body;
- Yellowish tint to the body;
— Hairs on the belly instead of characteristic scales;
— The presence of antennae on the head, which other mosquitoes do not have;
— Spot patterns on the wings.

Interestingly, this species of mosquito sits on the surface at an angle of almost 90 degrees due to its long hind legs, while ordinary mosquitoes sit parallel.

What does a malaria mosquito look like?

The genus Anfiles includes both harmless and malarial mosquitoes, which are difficult to distinguish visually. However, malaria mosquitoes have certain characteristics:
- Raised abdomen;
— Dark spots on the wings;
- Long legs;
— Long tentacles on the head.

Where do malaria mosquitoes live?

Malaria mosquitoes are found in more than 100 countries around the world. According to the World Health Organization, there were about 2019 million cases of malaria in 229, and about 409 deaths from the disease. Most malaria cases occur in Africa, where this mosquito species is the main vector of disease transmission. Particularly high incidence rates are noted in the regions of southern Sahara. Malaria is also widespread in Southeast Asia, South America and some other tropical and subtropical regions.

Malaria mosquitoes live in various regions of Europe, including some southern countries. The most common habitats of malaria mosquitoes in Europe are some areas of Southern Italy, Southern France, and countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Although malaria has been and remains a disease primarily confined to tropical and subtropical regions, it was also found in parts of continental Europe in the past. However, thanks to increased efforts to control the disease and improved public health, the number of malaria cases in Europe has dropped significantly.

Where do malaria mosquitoes live?

In North America, malaria mosquitoes, usually classified in the genus Anopheles, are predominantly found in subtropical and tropical regions, especially Central and South America. Some Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, are considered endemic areas for malaria mosquitoes.

Despite this, due to measures taken to control and prevent malaria in many countries in Central and South America, the incidence has decreased significantly in recent years. In North America, including the United States and Canada, malaria mosquitoes are present in limited regions and cases of malaria are reported only in rare cases, usually associated with imported cases from other countries.

How dangerous are malaria mosquitoes?

Female insects can carry plasmodia, which are single-celled organisms. When such plasmodia enter the human body, they begin to parasitize red blood cells and the liver, which can cause a disease known as malaria.

Malaria disease begins with a fever, which is accompanied by a sudden rise in body temperature, which may then subside and rise again. These temperature fluctuations may be accompanied by weakness, chills, malaise, headache and cough. In addition, symptoms of malaria may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dry mouth, seizures, profuse sweating and anemia. These signs usually appear a couple of weeks after being bitten by mosquitoes. Malaria can have serious effects on the kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, lungs and brain.

In addition, mosquitoes, including malaria mosquitoes, can carry other infections, such as heartworm disease, which affects the eyes and other body systems.

Malaria mosquitoes, like Anopheles, can carry malaria, a dangerous infectious disease. Up to half a billion people worldwide are affected by malaria every year, with the majority of cases occurring in tropical and subtropical regions such as Africa and South America. However, malaria can be transmitted not only through mosquito bites, but also through blood transfusions and from mother to child during pregnancy. This means that different forms of malaria can be transmitted in different ways, and the infection can affect organs and systems of the human body.

What to do if bitten by a malaria mosquito

If you are bitten by a mosquito, there is no need to panic as the sources of malaria infection are mainly concentrated in Africa. In our country, cases of infection are extremely rare. However, small outbreaks of malaria do occur when the disease is imported from tropical regions.

What to do if bitten by a malaria mosquito

If you have any doubts about your well-being after a mosquito bite, it is better to consult a specialist for diagnosis. In normal cases, the following medical procedures are prescribed:

— Clinical and biochemical blood test to determine the presence of any abnormalities in the body.
— PCR diagnostics, which allows you to detect the presence of genetic material of the causative agent of the disease.
— General urine test to assess kidney function and identify possible abnormalities.

F.A.Q.

How do you know if a mosquito is malarial or not?
The appearance of the malaria mosquito is significantly different from its ordinary relatives. They have longer legs, a slightly larger body size and dark spots on the wings. The abdomen and wings are narrower, and the thoracic region protrudes slightly forward. Also on the head of a malaria mosquito you can see small processes or tentacles that are not found on a regular mosquito.

What harm can a malaria mosquito cause to humans?
As the name suggests, this type of mosquito often carries a dangerous disease. Malaria is a serious infection that a person gets through a bite. Main symptoms include high fever, body aches and headache. In addition, in some regions of Russia, malaria mosquitoes can carry parasite larvae known as Dirofilaria.

Where in our country are malaria mosquitoes found?
Unfortunately, they are present almost everywhere, with the exception of the polar regions. Despite this, according to experts, there is no critical situation with malaria in our country, although cases of infection are still observed. Tourists may also sometimes bring malaria from Southeast Asia.

What happens if you are bitten by a malaria mosquito?
It should be noted that the malaria mosquito is not always the source of infection, and only females feed on blood. The nature of the course of the disease directly depends on the individual characteristics of the person. Some people experience an allergic reaction, while others experience problems with their body's functioning.

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