ABOUT MOSQUITOES

Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes represent a real and dramatic threat for the majority of the world population and millions of people die every year of complications thereof. According to a recent investigation of the WHO, these insects are among the most important threats to public health, especially in developing countries. Alarming data show that one sixth of the illnesses afflicting people, are transmitted by mosquitoes and presently half of the population estimated live in risk zones. There are numerous diseases that can be transmitted by mosquitoes: malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, LaCrosse encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Zika virus.

Mosquitoes

Nations concerned spend billions of dollars to tackle and curb the “mosquito problem”. The mosquito vector controlling products' market is evaluated at over 35 billion dollars and mainly concentrated in the USA, Brazil and Europe. Despite the efforts made to control mosquito transmitted diseases, scourges like malaria and dengue continue to afflict millions of people and weigh on already low performing economies of endemic countries.

Primary efforts applied consist in educational programs to inform the population about risks regarding the diseases, prevention programs (widespread distribution of mosquito-nets, and other useful means), research programs to prevent further epidemics, treat afflicted people, vector control programs and extermination (massive insecticide use, chemical compounds, land reclaim).

Considering the lack of an effective vaccine, the main prevention tools adopted for coping with diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are insecticides applied either as Indoor Residual Sprays (IRSs) or directly to 'bed nets' (Insecticide Treated Nets - ITNs).

Unfortunately, these preventative methods actually used against mosquitoes are losing their effectiveness due to onset of resistance phenomena in vector populations; moreover, their massive use is highly toxic to both humans and the environment.

In spite of continuous research and application of traditional and new control strategies, mosquito-borne diseases continue to be a difficult challenge to win. In fact, some WHO experts have said that "...the elimination and subsequently eradication of malaria cannot be achieved by currently existing tools...". Likewise, some researchers involved in a special WHO program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO-TDR) have stated that " ...we are collectively failing to meet the challenge posed by dengue as the disease spreads unabated and almost 40% of the world's population now lives at risk of contracting the disease...”.

The WHO recognised that “Innovative tools to tackle malaria and other vector-borne diseases are urgently needed”, in particular, “methods to improve the capacity to apply treatments persistent over time which provide us higher efficiency in urban communities and are economically sustainable” (WHO report, 2012).

Mosquitoes

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