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World Mosquito Day: Preventing a health hazard

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Every year on August 20, 2019, the world marks Mosquito Day after it was first established in 1897, when the link between mosquitos and malaria transmission was discovered by Sir Ronald Ross. The whole essence of this commemoration is to raise awareness that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans, malaria prevention, as well as fundraising for research into the cure of malaria.

Besides the fact that a type of Mosquito causes malaria, how much do humans really know about the tiny and expected-to-be-harmless insect? From the kingdom Animalia, mosquitoes are a group of about 3500 species of small insects that fly. The insects are a health hazard that must be prevented.

Though it is referred to as “The World’s Deadliest Animal”, it would interest you to know that not all mosquitoes transmit the malaria parasite but the female Anopheles mosquito! This is because the females require blood in order to produce eggs whereas the male anopheles mosquito primarily feeds on the nectar in flowers. In the case you’re wondering “so how am I supposed to differentiate between the male and a female mosquito? How is that my problem?” Well, you really do not have to worry because you cannot figure it out since the differences can only be seen under a magnifying lens or microscope.

Interestingly, it’s been said that because the males have no need for human blood, they typically avoid human contact. The feeding preferences of mosquitoes typically include those with type O blood, those who are heavy breathers, those with an abundance of skin bacteria, those with high body heat, and pregnant women. Individuals’ attractiveness to mosquitoes also has a heritable, genetically-controlled component. Many interventions and efforts are being made to further prevent and cure malaria. Female mosquitoes bite humans to consume blood. In doing so, they cause irritation and swelling but can also transmit some extremely harmful and sometimes fatal diseases. They can also cause harmful allergic reactions in some people. The often talked about malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus, and yellow fever are only a few mosquito-borne conditions.

It is, therefore, crucial to protect oneself from these deadly flies and take necessary precautions. To effectively prevent mosquito bites, sleep under the Long-Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets (LLIN), use of insect repellants, etc. For a Malaria-Free Nigeria, remember to play your part!

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