Today is World awareness day for this tiny insect, Mosquito, responsible for over 600, 000 deaths annually across the world with Africa being the most affected, and the Malaria parasite being the most commonly transmitted parasite by the vector.

The day is celebrated in commemoration of a British Doctor, Sir Ronald Ross who discovered that female anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans in 1897.

Though mosquitoes on their own do not cause any diseases; they are carriers, vectors, of a number of known disease-causing organisms that fall in the category of viruses and parasites.

Mosquitoes that are of human interest due to their disease-causing capabilities are classified into three genera namely Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex depending on their morphological features, biting patterns, demographics, and the disease they transmit.

To begin with, Aedes mosquitoes are associated with the transmission of viral and parasitic pathogens responsible for Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, Lymphatic Filariasis/ Elephantiasis, Rift Valley Fever, Yellow Fever, and Zika.

Anopheles are known to transmit lymphatic filariasis and malaria parasites whereas Culex mosquitoes transmit Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis, and West Nile fever.

Though there has been a significant decline in the number of mosquito vector-borne diseases, it is anticipated that the concerted efforts to end these diseases might suffer a huge blow due to climate change which is fueling new distribution patterns of the vector across the world.

The new patterns are evidenced by the reported locally transmitted Malaria cases in two States of the United States despite the States being declared Malaria free several decades ago.

The new distribution patterns as a result of climate change are also evidenced by the detection of the Anopheles stephensi vector in some parts of North Eastern Kenya whose origin is said to be South East Asia and Arabian Penissula and has spread to 7 African countries as of 2023.

The vector exhibits different traits from those of the common malaria vectors.  Its ability to spread in urban areas puts billions of people at risk and urgent measures are needed to curtail its spread.

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