With the upcoming Summer Olympic Games being hosted in Rio this year, many are concerned and frightened over the prospect of contracting the Zika Virus due to its prevalence in the region. Though Zika is a formidable problem, mosquitoes can harbor many other diseases that can be transmitted through a simple bite.
One of the most well-known mosquito-borne diseases, malaria causes fever, headaches, fatigue and vomiting. In rare severe cases malaria can cause jaundice, coma, seizures or death. Without proper treatment, the disease can reoccur months later although the symptoms tend to lessen with resistance being built up within the immune system.
Occurring in tropical areas, the dengue virus can lead to the development of a high fever, body pains, headaches and vomiting. Dengue fever is typically characterized by a skin rash that develops in response to the virus. With treatment recovery can be as fast a one day or as long as a week.
Spread primarily by one particular species of mosquito, yellow fever only affects humans and primates. Yellow fever causes 30,000 deaths each year, nearly 90% of which occur in Africa. Symptoms of yellow fever include loss of appetite, chills, fever and nausea. With no known cure, treatment is primarily centered around rehydration and an acetaminophen regimen.
West Nile Virus
In recent years no disease, other than Ebola, has struck fear in the hearts of Americans like the West Nile virus. The truth is that nearly 80% of West Nile virus infections typically create no symptoms. Less than 1% of cases reported have been considered severe. Symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, lethargy, vomiting and headaches. West Nile virus, when severe, can lead to inflammation of the brain, or encephalitis. Currently no treatment is available, but severe cases usually result in IV fluids and respiratory support.