Date Posted: 05-24-2013
Aside from dengue, mosquitoes bring with them a myriad of deadly diseases. Photo captured from Pamilya OnGuard newscast.

MANILA, Philippines – Rainy season in the Philippines is not just about having cooler temperature. It is also the time when cases of mosquito-borne illnesses increase.

Mosquitoes are considered one of the most dangerous insects in the world, not just because of the diseases they bring, but also because of the fact that they suck blood out of vertebrates, including humans.

These tiny insects can be found all over the world, except in Antarctica. However, mosquitoes are more prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical countries, as they tend to hibernate during winter.

Mosquito-borne diseases are prevalent in countries like the Philippines, especially during the rainy season.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water found in water basins, drainage and waterways.

Diseases caused by mosquitoes

Malaria, dengue, filariasis and chikungunya are just some of the diseases caused by these tiny insects.

Symptoms range from a simple rash to severe enlargement of body parts.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that commonly affects children.

Caused by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, symptoms of dengue includes fever (especially at night), rashes as well as muscle pain. If left untreated, dengue can be fatal.

From January to April of this year alone, the Department of Health has recorded around 30,000 cases of dengue from all over the Philippines.

Malaria is another mosquito-borne disease that is prevalent in the country. According to the World Health Organization, around 216 million people are affected and 655,000 are killed by malaria every year.

In the Philippines, malaria affects 14 million people. Those who are prone to infection are people in mountainous and hard-to-reach areas in the country.

Malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium, which multiplies in the liver once it enters the human body.

Symptoms of malaria include anemia, chills, fever and muscle pain, among others. The plasmodium parasite also affects the red blood cells, and is considered a more serious disease than dengue.

Last month, the DOH released a statement on a new viral infection caused by mosquitoes, called chikungunya.
This disease is caused by the same species of mosquito that causes dengue, the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

Unlike dengue, however, chikungunya affects adults, and symptoms include fever, rashes and arthritic pain.

Lymphatic filariasis is a disease caused by an infection with filarial worms. These worms enter the human body through mosquito bites.

Filariasis is also known as elephantiasis, because this disease can make a person’s limbs to swell and change in size.

Once the filarial worms enter the human body, they stay on the lymphatic vessels. Once the worms multiply and increase, the vessels become disfigured and enlarged, causing pain and swelling to the infected person.

Proper hygiene, cleanliness

Experts advise the public to ensure that their surroundings are always clean. It is not enough to clean your own house, as mosquitoes can breed almost anywhere.

Make sure that your house and your surroundings are free from any container that can hold water, since mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.

Cure for these mosquito-borne diseases are yet to be discovered. In the meantime, ensure that you and your family practice proper hygiene and cleanliness to protect yourself from illnesses.