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MOSQUITO BORNE INFECTIONS

Malaria mosquitoMosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism. Over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year. Not only can mosquitoes carry diseases that afflict humans, they also transmit several diseases and parasites that cattle, dogs and horses are very susceptible to.

These include dog heartworm, West Nile virus  and Eastern equine encephalitis. In addition, mosquito bites can cause severe skin irritation through an allergic reaction to the mosquito's saliva. This is what causes the red bump and itching. Mosquito vectored diseases include protozoan diseases, i.e., malaria, filarial diseases such as dog heartworm and viruses such as dengue, encephalitis and yellow fever.

Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) are the most diverse, numerous and serious diseases transmitted to susceptible vertebrate hosts such as humans by mosquitoes and other blood-feeding arthropods. Arboviral encephalitides are primarily zoonotic, being maintained in complex life cycles involving a non-human primary vertebrate host and a primary arthropod vector. Humans and domestic animals can develop clinical illness but usually are "dead-end" hosts because they do not contribute to the transmission cycle.

It is best to consult a doctor about vaccinations and treatments to avoid contracting these diseases when travelling to the countries where they are prevalent.

Mosquito facts

Mosquitoes have been around since the Jurassic period which makes them about 210 million years old. They have been mentioned throughout history, including in the works of Aristotle around 300 BC and in writings by Sidonius Apollinaris in 467 BC.

Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest “animal” in the world. The Anopheles mosquito, in particular, is dangerous because it transmits malaria, which kills more than one million people every year, primarily in Africa. Alexander the Great is believed to have died of malaria in 323 BC.

Mosquito is Spanish for “little fly.” The word reportedly originated in the early 16th century. In Africa, mosquitoes are called “Mozzies”.

There are more than 3500 species of mosquitoes with the Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Culex pipiens and Aedes aegypti (Asian tiger mosquito) among the most common. The Anopheles is a malaria carrier and the other two are known to spread various forms of encephalitis.

Only female mosquitoes bite people. Both male and female feed mainly on fruit and plant nectar, but the female also needs the protein in blood to help her eggs develop. Once she's had her fill of blood, she'll rest a couple of days before laying her eggs.

Mosquitoes do not possess teeth. The females “bite” with a long, pointed mouthpart called a proboscis. They use the serrated proboscis to pierce the skin and locate a capillary,  then draw blood through one of two tubes.

A mosquito can drink up to three times its weight in blood but it would take about 1.2 million bites to drain all the blood from a human body.

The bumps from mosquito bites are caused by saliva. While one tube in the proboscis draws blood, a second pumps in saliva containing a mild painkiller and an anti-coagulant. Most people have minor allergic reactions to the saliva, causing the area around the bite to swell and itch.

Malaria is caused by a parasite that lives in mosquitoes. The parasite gets into mosquito saliva and is passed on when the insect bites someone. West Nile and other viruses are passed the same way. Mosquitoes can also carry and pass on canine heartworm.

Scientists first identified rthe West Nile virus in a feverish woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937. There were large outbreaks of the virus reported in Israel, South Africa and Romania up and through the late '90s. The virus first appeared in the United States in 1999 with an epidemic in New York.

 

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Mosquitoes do not transmit HIV. The virus that causes AIDS does not replicate in mosquitoes and is actually digested in their stomachs, so it is broken down without being passed on.

Female mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs three times every three days before they die.  Usually, the eggs are deposited in clusters, called rafts, on the surface of still water or they are laid in areas that flood regularly. Eggs can hatch in as little as an inch of standing water therefore, any containers no matter how small, should be covered before, or emptied promptly after, it rains. Mosquitos often lay eggs in used tyres which have been known to be transported across Europe, even to the UK, where they then hatch and thrive.

Mosquitoes spend their first 10 days in water. Water is necessary for the eggs to hatch into larvae, called wigglers. Wigglers feed on tiny organic matter in water and breathe oxygen from the surface. They then develop into pupae, which do not feed, and are partially encased in cocoons. Over several days, the pupae change into adult mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are cold-blooded and prefer temperatures over 80 degrees. At temperatures less than 50 degrees, they hibernate for the winter. The adult females of some species find holes where they wait for warmer weather, while others lay their eggs in freezing water and die. The eggs keep until the temperatures rise and they can hatch.

The average mosquito lifespan is less than two months. Males have the shortest lives, usually 10 days or less and females can live about six to eight weeks, under ideal conditions. Females of species that hibernate may live up to six months.

Mosquitoes cannot fly very far or very fast. Most mosquitoes can fly no more than about one to three miles and often stay within several hundred feet of where they were hatched. However, a few salt marsh species can travel up to 40 miles. The top speed for a mosquito is about 1.5 miles per hour.

Mosquitoes generally fly below 25 feet. However, some species have also been found at extraordinary heights, including 8,000 feet up in the Himalayas.

Mosquitoes can smell human breath. They have receptors on their antennae that detect the carbon dioxide released when humans exhale. Those plumes of CO2 rise into the air, acting as trails that the mosquitoes follow to find the source.

Sweat helps mosquitoes choose their victims. Human skin produces more than 340 chemical odours and some of them smell like dinner to mosquitoes. They are fond of octenol, a chemical released in sweat, as well as cholesterol, folic acid, certain bacteria, skin lotions, and perfume.

Body heat marks the target. Mosquitoes use heat sensors around their mouthparts to detect the warmth of a human body then land and locate the best capillaries for tapping.

Dark clothing attracts mosquitoes because they are drawn to heat and darker clothes retain more heat than light-coloured clothing.

Mosquitoes feed day and night. Some species, like the Aedes are daytime biters, while others, like Culex, start biting at dusk and continue a few hours into dark.

Pond life

The two main mosquito predators are fish and dragonflies. Gambusia, or mosquitofish, feed on mosquito larvae and are used all over the world to help control mosquito populations. Dragonfly larvae, called nymphs, eat mosquito larvae and adult dragonflies prey on adult mosquitoes.

Koi are generally too large to prey on mosquito larvae. However, since Koi are known for their mellow nature, it is worth adding some smaller fish. Common goldfish, killifish and guppies are three types of fish that are known to eat mosquito larvae and will get along well with other fish. If it is a natural pond, that is not stocked with bass, bluegill or catfish it is worth adding fathead minnows. Bass, bluegill, and catfish are all natural predators to mosquito larvae and will not need any additional help.

If there is a pond or any water source that does not have any fish, consider adding some gambusia affinis, better known as the mosquito fish. Mosquito fish are about an inch long and look similar to a guppy. A large female gambusia is capable of consuming over two hundred mosquito larvae in an hour. They are very aggressive fish and begin attacking the larvae when they are only a couple hours old. Unfortunately, they will also attack dragonfly larvae and will be aggressive toward other fish and tadpoles.

A large birdbath that is constantly filled with water, can hold about ten fish. Larger ornamental ponds can support anywhere from 35 to 100 fish. For wastewater ponds, add about 1000 fish per acre. Minnows, guppies and small goldfish can also be added to birdbaths and ornamental ponds, but they are not as hardy as the mosquito fish.

If the fish in a pond are not consuming the mosquito larvae trying reducing the food you are feeding them with.

Tadpoles not only eat mosquito larvae, but they grow up to become toads or frogs, which will also eat mosquitoes. One toad can consume about a hundred mosquitoes a night.

Unfortunately most fish will also consume tadpoles but there are a number of small 'tropical fish' that will not bother tadpoles but are a good organic mosquito control.  The following fish will survive quite happily in a wildlife pond during the summer.

  • White cloud mountain minnow (Tanichthys albonubes).  This is a small and inexpensive shoaling fish originating from melt water rivers in southern China. 

  •  Zebra danios (Danio rerio). Another small shoaling fish perfectly happy in the garden pond for the summer.

  • Paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis).  A colourful fish with the ability to breath surface air.  This trait makes it particularly suitable for aquatic container garden mosquito control.

Before the onset of winter, round the fish up and keep them indoors in an unheated aquarium.  These fish make a pleasant change to the usual goldfish.  A good time to add them to the wildlife pond is in early spring before the mosquitoes become active. 

After purchasing fish it is important to float the bag of fish in the pond before releasing them.  This allows the temperature of the water in the bag and the pond to equalise.  These fish will have been kept in heated aquaria in the shop so it is particularly important to equalise the temperatures before release.

For healthy fish and tadpoles, It is also important to only add water of the same temperature and allow chlorine to evaporate off before adding tap water to ponds. Tap water contains nitrates and added fluoride plus other chemicals therefore it is always best to add natural rainwater to ponds instead.

Preventative measures and mosquito repellents

The preventive aspect in mosquito borne diseases is as important as the curative one. The best way to protect against them is to adopt all measures necessary for preventing mosquito bites such as mosquito nets over sleeping areas.

It is essential to maintain cleanliness of surroundings, environmental hygiene and to eradicate stretches or pools, puddles, pots, pans etc of still or stagnant water which is where the mosquito breeds. Any objects that can hold as little as 1 tablespoon of water for seven to 10 days, the time it takes for eggs to hatch and larvae to mature. Commonly overlooked breeding spots include old tires, clogged gutters, abandoned tubs and buckets, tree cavities, pond and lake edges and cemetery urns.

Where standing water cannot be avoided, for example in large water troughs or ponds, use Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, a naturally occurring bacterium that infects mosquito larvae and kills them, yet is harmless to people and fish.

Keeping chickens, ducks or guinea fowl reduces mosquitoes because the birds are natural mosquito predators.

For a small body of water like a pond with no natural outlet, stock it with goldfish; mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis). Ponds populated with the right kinds of fish will work like natural mosquito traps: Thanks to the hungry fish, neither egg-laying female mosquitoes nor larvae will survive.

Another aspect of control is to protect natural mosquito predators such as dragonflies, ants, ground beetles, spiders, water striders, frogs, toads and snails.

As the mosquito generally perches itself on the walls of the house, after biting a person, it would be advisable to spray the walls with natural insecticides and repellents.

Take a lemon. Pierce several small holes in the peel then stick cloves into the holes. This will repel mosquitoes and is good to be kept near the bedside at night. Placing slices of lemon in a bowl of water help detract mosquitoes as can citronella and geraniol, products such as candles and incense sticks and cones.

Lemon balm oil (melissa oil), a strain of lemon balm plants with higher essential oil content can be used as a repellent, just crush a handful of the delicious-smelling leaves in your hand and rub them on exposed skin.

Handfuls of basil, lemon thyme, lemongrass and various other fragrant herbs crushed and rubbed on the skin often repel mosquitoes for short periods, usually less than 30 minutes. (Always tests herbs on a small patch of skin first to ensure there is no reaction)

Place two and a half teaspoons total of any combination of the following essential oils:

Place ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Transfer to small bottles for storage. To use, rub a small amount on any exposed skin, Test first on a small patch of skin for adverse reactions or dab it on clothing. Experiment a little to find which essential oils work best with your body chemistry, add a few drops of peppermint oil to fine-tune the fragrance.

NOTE: Pregnant women should not use essential oils.

Nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip and pulegone found in mountain mint are both powerful insect repellents.

NOTE: Do not use mountain mint if pregnant; the ingredient pulegone has been known to increase the risk of miscarriage.

Use an electric fan as mosquitoes are weak fliers.

Consuming foods rich in vitamin B1 (thiamine) can help to repel mosquitoes as it changes the body's scent.

Highest sources of vitamin B1 in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Yeast extract 23.38 mg

  • Brewer’s yeast 11 mg (dependent upon source check label)

  • Rice bran 2.75 mg

  • Wheat germ 1.88 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 1.48 mg

  • Coriander leaves 1.25 mg

  • Pine nuts 1.24 mg

  • Sesame seeds 1.21 mg

  • Pork 1.12 mg

  • Peanuts 0.85 mg

  • Soya beans0.83 mg

  • Macadamia nuts 0.71 mg

  • Trout 0.43 mg

  • Chicken livers 0.38 mg

  • Peas 0.28 mg

  • Salmon 0.26 mg

  • Navy beans 0.24 mg

  • Squash 0.17 mg

  • Brown rice 0.16 mg

  • Asparagus 0.16 mg

  • Nori seaweed 0.5 mg

  • Sprouted beans 0.4 mg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 0.3 mg

  • Asparagus, globe artichoke 0.2 mg

  • Beetroot greens, okra, spinach, watercress 0.1 mg

Eliminating mosquitoes

It is believed that bats and certain birds, such as the purple martins, eat mosquitoes but they do so in such small numbers it is insignificant against the vast mosquito population.

Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a naturally occurring type of bacteria that will kill mosquito larvae and some fly larvae but is not harmful to fish, pets, wildlife or humans. This can be purchased from various outlets online and placed in a pond to eliminate mosquito larvae.

Bug zappers are ineffective against mosquitoes. Studies have shown that less than one percent of the insects killed by zappers are mosquitoes or other biting insects. The devices attract and kill beneficial or harmless insects, like moths, and have no effect on the overall mosquito population. Electronic repellents have also proven ineffective in scientific testing. The best way to eliminate mosquitoes is to trap them.

Make your own mosquito trap

Mosquito trap

  • Cut a one or two litre plastic bottle top off as in the image above.

  • Half fill the bottle base with hot water.

  • Add two tablespoons of brown sugar and stir to dissolve.

  • Add ¼ teaspoon of active yeast.

  • Place the top half of the bottle inside the base upside down with the top small opening just above the water, sugar and yeast mixture and tape together with black tape.

  • The trap may be decorated by covering in any material  or placed inside a pot leaving the top open.

  • Place anywhere mosquitoes may lurk.

  • The carbon dioxide produced by the yeast will attract the mosquitoes and they will enter the trap and be unable to escape.

  • Change the solution in the bottle every two weeks for continuous control.

Plants that repel mosquitoes

The following plants are useful to grow around seating areas or patios and near to windows and doors because mosquitoes will avoid them.

  • Ageratum or floss flower: (Ageratum houstonianum)

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

  • Cadaga tree (Eucalyptus torelliana)

  • Catmint: (Nepeta faassenii)

  • Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

  • Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)

  • Clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum)

  • Garlic (Allium sativa)

  • Horsemint or lemon beebalm (Monarda citriodora)

  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

  • Lemon grass (Cymbopogon)

  • Lemon scented geranium (Pelargonium crispum)

  • Lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus)

  • Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla)

  • Marigolds (Calendula officinalis )

  • Mexican marigold mint (Tagetes lucida)

  • Mindanao gum tree (Eucalyptus deglupta)

  • Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

  • Pitcher plant (Nepenthes alata)

  • Prostrate rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostrates')

  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

  • Red flowering gum tree (Eucalyptus ficifolia)

  • Roman wormwood (Artemisia pontica)

  • Silver dollar tree (Eucalyptus cinerea)

  • Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

  • Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia 'Powis Castle')

Disease caused by mosquitoes

Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes that bite during daylight hours and is common in Africa and, currently, there is no specific conventional treatment but there are natural remedies effective for many people.

See Natural remedies for mosquito borne infections below

The name chikungunya is derived from a word meaning "to become contorted" from the African Kimakonde language. It cannot be spread by person-to-person contact only by a mosquito bite. Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever and joint pain, typically affecting the ankles, feet, hands and wrists, ankles and feet. Most patients recover after a few days but in some cases the joint pain may persist for weeks, months or even years.

Dengue (Aedes aegypti, ae. albopictus)

Dengue is a serious arboviral disease of the Americas, Asia and Africa. Although it has a low mortality, dengue has very uncomfortable symptoms and has become more serious, both in frequency and mortality, in recent years. The spread of dengue throughout the world can be directly attributed to the proliferation and adaptation of these mosquitoes. Over the last 16 years dengue has become more common, for example; in south Texas 55 cases were reported in 1999 causing one death. More recently, Hawaii recorded 85 cases of dengue during 2001 and the Florida Keys reported over 20 cases in 2010. In 2004 Venezuela has reported more than 11, 600 cases classic dengue fever and over 700 cases of dengue. Indonesia dengue outbreak has caused over 600 deaths and more than 54,000 cases. In 1999, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo had an outbreak of almost a 100 cases. The number of people bringing dengue fever back to the UK from tropical countries has doubled. In 2009 there were 166 cases; a year later there were 406.

The illness, which can be fatal, results in fever, muscle pain, headache and a rash.

See Natural remedies for mosquito borne infections below

Dog heart worm (Dirofilaria immitis)

This can be a life-threatening disease for canines. The disease is caused by a roundworm. Dogs and sometimes other animals such as cats, foxes and raccoons are infected with the worm through the bite of a mosquito carrying the larvae of the worm. It is dependent on both the mammal and the mosquito to fulfil its lifecycle. The young worms (microfilaria) circulate in the blood stream of the dog. These worms must infect a mosquito in order to complete their lifecycle. Mosquitoes become infected when they blood feed on the sick dog. Once inside the mosquito the microfilaria leave the gut of the mosquito and live in the body of the insect, where they develop for 2-3 weeks.

After transforming twice in one mosquito the third stage infective larvae move to the mosquito's mouthparts, where they will be able to infect an animal. When the mosquito blood feeds, the infective larvae are deposited on the surface of the victims skin. The larvae enter the skin through the wound caused by the mosquito bite.

The worms burrow into the skin where they remain for 3-4 months. If the worms have infected an unsuitable host such as a human, the worms usually die. The disease in dogs and cats cannot be eliminated but it can be controlled or prevented with pills and/or injections. Some risk is present when treating dogs infected with heartworms but death is rare; still prevention is best. Of course good residual mosquito control practices reduce the treat of mosquito transmission. Until the late sixties, the disease was restricted to southern and eastern coastal regions of the United States. Now, however, cases have been reported in all 50 states and in several provinces of Canada.

Eastern equine encephalitis

Eastern equine encephalitis is spread to horses and humans by infected mosquitoes. It is among the most serious of a group of mosquito-borne arboviruses that can affect the central nervous system and cause severe complications and even death. It is found in North America, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. It has a complex life cycle involving birds and a specific type of mosquitoes including several Culex species and Culiseta melanura. These mosquitoes feed on infected birds and become carriers of the disease and then feed on humans, horses and other mammals.

Symptoms may range from none at all to a mild flu-like illness with fever, headache, and sore throat. More serious infections of the central nervous system lead to a sudden fever and severe headache followed quickly by seizures and coma. About half of these patients die from the disease. Of those who survive, many suffer permanent brain damage and require lifetime institutional care. There is no specific treatment. A vaccine is available for horses, but not humans.

See Natural remedies for mosquito borne infections below

La Crosse Encephalitis

La crosse encephalitis is from a woodland mosquito (Aedes triseriatus) called the tree-hole mosquito, with small mammals the usual warm blooded host. It occurs in children younger than 16 and there is no vaccine available.

See Natural remedies for mosquito borne infections below

Malaria

Malaria is a parasitic infection spread by anopheles mosquitoes. The plasmodium parasite that causes malaria is neither a virus nor a bacterium. It is a single-celled parasite that multiplies in red blood cells of humans as well as in the mosquito intestine.

Malaria is a serious infectious disease. It is one of the intermittent fevers which have a tendency to return again and again to haunt the sufferer.  

The word malaria comes from the Italian malaria, meaning bad air as it was once supposed to be caused by bad air. It is one of the most wide spread diseases in the world, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. Over 200 million people worldwide became infected with malaria every year, and over 600,000 will die of it, most of them young children in Africa where a child dies of malaria every minute.

A mosquito's bite transmits a parasite into a person's blood, where it infects red blood cells. Periodically, the red blood cells rupture, causing fever, chills and organ damage. This blood infection is most common in Africa; those travelling to Africa are at risk and should take preventive measures.

Malaria is caused by a tiny parasite called plasmodium. The parasites grow in the liver of a person for a few days and then enter the bloodstream where they invade the red blood cells. The disease is spread from a sick person to a healthy one by the female anopheles mosquito. She draws a small quantity of blood containing the parasites, when she bites a person who has malaria.

These parasites then pass through several stages of development within the mosquito’s body and finally find their way to its salivary glands. There they lie in wait for an opportunity to enter the bloodstream of the next person.

The real cause of malaria, however, as in case of other infectious diseases, is wrong feeding habits and faulty style of living, resulting in the system being clogged with accumulated systemic refuse and morbid matter. It is on this soil that the malaria germs breed.

The liberal use of denatured foods of today such as white sugar, white flour and products made from them, as well as tinned foods, strong tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages, lower the vitality of the system and paves the way for the development of malaria.

Malaria symptoms

There are three main types of malaria, depending upon the parasite which causes it. These are vivax, falciparum and malaria, commonly called tertian fever, quarter fever and the malignant tertian malaria. The most common symptom of all types of malaria is high fever, which may come every day, on alternate days or every fourth day.

The fever is accompanied by chill, headache, shivering and pain in the limbs. The temperature comes down after some time with profuse sweating. One of the main effects of malaria is anaemia. Other complications of the disease are kidney failure and dysentery.

Male adult mosquitoes feed mostly on flower nectar and do not bite humans, but female mosquitoes require high-protein blood meals to produce eggs. In a single feeding, a female mosquito doubles her weight, and she's usually ready to feed again in three to four days.

Species vary in their preferred times to feed; many feed from twilight into the night, while others are active during the day. Some species prefer to dine on the blood of birds or other animals, while some, called anthropophilic mosquitoes, like humans best. The wiliest species switch around with the seasons, seeking out humans when they can find them and settling for other animals when people are scarce.

Cinchona bark

Malaria strains have evolved and developed a resistance to the synthesised quinine drugs and it has been found that the natural quinine found in extracts from cinchona bark and the use of natural bark tea do not create resistant strains and can kill the strains that have become resistant. A cup of boiling water is poured over approximately 1-2 g of ground or chopped bark taken from the rain forest cinchona tree and allowed to steep for ten minutes. See more about Cinchona bark

Wormwood

Historical documentation shows that this Vietnamese/Chinese herb was used to treat intestinal parasitic infections, haemorrhoids (its an anti-inflammatory) and malaria as early as 2000 years ago. This treatment for malaria was, however, lost over time. It was only rediscovered in an archaeological dig in the 1970s where its medicinal use was found in a recipe inside a tomb. The formula was dated back to 168 B.C. when the Chinese chemist isolated the primary active ingredient from the leafy portion of plant and it was named artemisinin by western scientists in 1972.

Artemisinin was found to be close to a 100% successful treatment for malaria during the Vietnam war and symptoms subsided within a few days. It has the ability to destroy the malaria parasite by releasing high doses of free radicals that attack the cell membrane of the parasite in the presence of high iron concentration. The malaria parasite accumulates iron by infecting iron-rich red blood cell. Excessive iron that is spilled onto the surrounding tissues will activate the artemisinin to generate a burst of free radicals that attack the iron rich cells, killing the parasite in the process.

To make a medicinal tea, soak a handful of sweet wormwood leaves in hot water for 20 minutes. Then wring out the juice and drink it all.

See Natural remedies for mosquito borne infections below

St. Louis Encephalitis

St. Louis encephalitis is among the most serious of a group of mosquito-borne arboviruses that can affect the central nervous system and cause severe complications and even death. It is found in North America, Central and South America and the Caribbean. It has a complex life cycle involving birds and a specific type of mosquito including several Culex species and Culiseta melanura. These mosquitoes feed on infected birds and become carriers of the disease and then feed on humans, horses and other mammals.

Symptoms may range from none at all to a mild flu-like illness with fever, headache and sore throat. More serious infections of the central nervous system lead to a sudden fever and severe headache followed quickly by seizures and coma. About half of these patients die from the disease. Of those who survive, many suffer permanent brain damage and require lifetime institutional care. There is no specific treatment. A vaccine is available for horses, but not humans.

See Natural remedies for mosquito borne infections below

Western Equine Encephalitis (culex tarsalis)

Western equine encephalitis infects horses, humans, birds, small mammals and is prevalent in the USA, Canada and Mexico. It was first recognized in 1930 in a horse in California. It is found west of the Mississippi including parts of Canada and Mexico. Birds are the most important vertebrate hosts with small mammals playing a minor role. In Arizona it was found in chicken flocks. Since 1964 fewer than 1000 human cases have been reported. A vaccine is available for horses but not for humans.

See Natural remedies for mosquito borne infections below

West Nile Virus

In humans, although infections to date are considered rare, West Nile can cause a fever with mild flu-like symptoms, including body aches, low energy and headache. In extreme cases (about one in 150 people infected), West Nile meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord) or West Nile encephalitis (brain inflammation), which comes with a severe headache, fever, stiff neck and other serious complications and can be fatal. No specific treatment is known but treatments listed for malaria may help with the fever caused by West Nile Virus.

See Natural remedies for mosquito borne infections below

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which is the same mosquito that spreads the Zika virus. Yellow fever virus is an arthropod borne virus of the Flaviviridae family. Other flaviviruses include dengue and Japanese encephalitis viruses. Yellow fever has a 400-year history and occurs only in tropical areas of Africa and the Americas. It has both an urban and jungle cycle. It is a rare illness of travellers now because most countries have regulations and requirements for yellow fever vaccination that must be met prior to entering the country.

Symptoms of yellow fever

  • Backache

  • Chills

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

  • Loss of appetite

  • Muscle pain

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

A small percentage of infected people go on to develop secondary symptoms

  • Abdominal pain

  • Bleeding of the mouth, eyes, and gastrointestinal tract

  • Jaundice

  • Recurring fever

  • Vomiting blood

At least half of those that develop the secondary symptoms can die within 10 to 14 days if they do not receive treatment.

Every year about 200,000 cases occur with 30,000 deaths in 33 countries. It does not occur in Asia. Over the past decade it has become more prevalent. In 2002 one fatal yellow fever death occurred in the United States in an unvaccinated traveller returning from a fishing trip to the Amazon. In May 2003, 178 cases and 27 deaths caused by yellow fever were reported in southern Sudan. In the Americas 226 cases of jungle yellow fever have been reported with 99 deaths.

In 2015 in Angola, 450 people were infected and 178 died of yellow fever and cases were exported by travellers to countries including China, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya. There have been no reported cases of Yellow Fever in the UK since 1930.

See Natural remedies for mosquito borne infections below

Zika virus

The zika virus is caused by a bite from the Aedes mosquitoes who carry the virus. Unfortunately these mosquitoes are active during the day so bed nets do not prevent bites. It was first identified in monkeys in Uganda in 1947. The first human case was detected in Nigeria in 1954 and there have now been outbreaks in Africa, Barbados, Brazil, Florida, South America, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Deaths are rare and only one in five people infected is thought to develop symptoms such as:

  • A mild fever

  • Conjunctivitis (red, sore eyes)

  • Headache

  • Joint pain

  • Skin rash

A rare nervous system disorder, Guillain-Barre syndrome, that can cause temporary paralysis has been linked to the zika virus infection.

There is no vaccine or drug treatment. Patients are advised to rest and drink plenty of fluids. However, it can have a serious impact on a foetus developing in the womb because they can develop microcephaly. This is when a baby is born with an abnormally small head, as their brain has not developed properly. The severity varies, but it can be deadly if the brain is so underdeveloped that it cannot regulate the functions vital to life. Children that do survive face intellectual disability and development delays. Microcephaly can also be caused by infections such as rubella, substance abuse during pregnancy or genetic abnormalities.

Pregnant women especially should use the repellents and preventative measures listed above.

Nature Cures remedies to fight this infection can be found below.

Nature cures for mosquito borne infections

Diet is of utmost importance in the treatment of malaria and the other mosquito borne infections. To begin with, the patient should fast on orange juice and the following herbal teas and water for seven to fifteen days depending on the severity of the fever.

Make a tea with the following three herbs to boost the immune system and cleanse the blood. Strain and drink this three times a day.

Also make a detoxifying tea by boiling the following five plants in fresh spring water for 15 minutes. Then let it cool down and strain.

This tea should be drunk all day long instead of water.

After the fever has subsided, the patient should be placed on an exclusive fresh fruit diet for further three days. In this regimen, they should take three meals a day, at five-hourly intervals, of fresh, juicy fruits, like oranges, grapes, grapefruit, apple, pineapple, mango and papaya.

Milk may be added to the fruit-diet after this period and this diet may be continued for a further few days. Thereafter, the patient may gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet of natural foods consisting of fruit, herbs, nuts, seeds, spices, vegetables and whole grains, with emphasis on fresh fruits and raw vegetables.

The patient should avoid strong tea, coffee, refined and processed foods, fried foods, sauces, pickles, white sugar, white flour and all products made from them. They should also avoid all meats, alcoholic drinks and smoking.

The best way to reduce temperature naturally, during the course of fever, is by means of the cold pack, which can be applied to the whole body. This pack is made by wringing out a sheet or other large square piece of linen material in cold water, wrapping it right round the body and legs of the patient ( twice round would be best ) and then covering completely with a small blanket or similar warm material. This pack should be applied every three hours during the day while temperature is high and kept on for an hour or so . Hot-water bottles may be applied to the feet and also against the sides of the body.

Fever

Fever is an elevation in body temperature. It's the body's protective mechanism against infection. The elevation in temperature happens when the immune system is fighting off bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses and other microbes that could harm the body.

Normal body temperature ranges from 97 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit, but varies throughout the day. Usually is lower in the early morning and higher in late afternoon. A fever is consider to be any temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. One should get concern when temperature raises above 102 degrees Fahrenheit for an adult and 103 degrees Fahrenheit for children.

Often, having high temperature is helpful for the body; it is the way the body acts to destroy harmful microbes. In an adult, temperatures under 103 degrees Fahrenheit encourage the body to create more immune cells. A fever of 104 or higher can be a risk for people with cardiac problems, since it accelerates the heart beat and makes it work harder, and can cause irregular rhythms, chest pain or even hard attack. When a person has had a fever over 106 degrees for a long period of time, it can cause dehydration and brain damage.

The old saying "feed a cold and starve a fever" is good advice. When a fever is present only liquids should be drunk.

Drink water and freshly squeezed orange juice (for seven to 15 days) then eat apples, grapefruit, lime, lemon, cinnamon, black pepper, radishes, honey, raisins, tangerines, oranges, grapes, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, papaya, milk seeds, nuts, whole grains and raw vegetable juices.

The following can be useful for treating many of the mosquito borne infections and the fever that accompanies them. Try out different ones and mix and match as people are all unique and some will work better than others for different individuals.

Drink plenty of bottle or filtered water

Drink plenty of fresh juices of the following in warm water to prevent dehydration during fevers.

Teas: steep any of these ingredients in hot water for 15 minutes then sip three cups per day slowly:

Also add the following to the juices or teas above:

Natural remedies for mosquito borne infections

Alum root should be roasted over a hot plate and powdered. It should be taken about four hours before the expected attack and every two hours after it. This will give relief and can help to cure malaria. Alternatively, a decoction can be made of grated alum root simmered in a litre of water until the liquid has halved, strain then drink when cooled.

Catnip has properties that can reduce various symptoms associated with mosquito borne infections including  fever, gastrointestinal disorders and headaches.

Chilli pepper contains capsicum which has been shown to reduce the symptoms of mosquito borne infections.

Cinnamon is regarded as an effective cure for all types of viral infections such as colds and malaria. It should be coarsely powdered and boiled in a glassful of water with a pinch of ground black pepper powder and honey then drunk when it is cooled.

Ginger and raisins: In a glassful of water, put a small piece of ginger and 2-3 teaspoon raisins. Boil this decoction until it gets reduced to half its quantity. Cool down the decoction and consume.

Chirayita herb: In 250 ml of water, add 15 gm of chirayita herb, along with some cloves and/or cinnamon. Have 15-30 ml of this solution once in a day, for 15-25 days.

Cloves: add three cloves crushed to hot drinks when steeping herbs before straining for additional infection fighting properties.

Dogwood: A tea can be brewed from dried dogwood bark and drunk regularly to prevent any increase in severity of the condition. To make an infusion, steep one tablespoon of dried bark in 568 ml (one pint) of water for 30 minutes. Then strain and sip half a cup every two to three hours.

Fagara root bark has powerful virus fighting properties.

Fenugreek seeds can clear up the fever, gastrointestinal issues, bowel disorders, and excess mucous in the bronchial tracts that can be caused by mosquito borne infections.

Feverwort has long been used to fend off the symptoms and lessen the strength of mosquito borne infections in various parts of the world. Native American tribes, like the Cherokee, make a decoction or a tea of feverwort and drink it to reduce severe fevers.

Garlic can counter the loss in appetite by stimulating hunger hormones in the body, and can also reduce the high blood pressure that occurs from mosquito borne infections. It is also very good against diarrhoea and boosts the strength of the immune system to fight off contagious diseases.

Golden rod is very good for promoting sweating and breaking fevers as well as boosting the immune system to help fight against mosquito borne infections.

Grapefruit. Boil a quarter of the grapefruit, strain its pulp then drink the juice.

Green olive leaves are used in tea as a treatment for malaria and other mosquito-borne infections.

Holy basil leaves (tulsi) proves beneficial in treating malaria. Consume the leaves raw or an infusion of some leaves can be taken daily for this purpose. The juice of about 11 grams of holy basil leaves mixed with three grams of ground black pepper powder, can be taken beneficially in the cold stage of the malarial fever every 2 to 3 hours. This will check the severity of the disease.

The leaves of holy basil are specific for many fevers. During the rainy season, when malaria and dengue fever are widely prevalent, tender leaves, boiled with tea, act as preventive against theses diseases. In case of acute fevers, a decoction of the leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in half a litre of water and mixed with honey and milk brings down the temperature.

Holy basil leaves juice can be used to bring down fever in children. Extract of holy basil leaves in fresh water should be given every two to three hours. In between one can keep giving sips of cold water.

Lime and lemon are beneficial in the treatment of fever. About three grams of lime should be dissolved in about 60ml of water and juice of one lemon added to it. This water should be taken before the onset of the fever. Freshly squeezed lemon juice can be added to herbal tea remedies for increased infection fighting properties along with a teaspoon of pure honey.

Pau d'Arco is a powerful herb that can fight various parasites and viruses, including: malaria, schistosoma and trypanosoma.

Externally a slice of raw onion or crushed garlic and olive oil on the soles of the feet can bring down the fever.

See also

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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