Home Blog Raising Global Awareness: 3 Mosquito Diseases and Their Impact

Raising Global Awareness: 3 Mosquito Diseases and Their Impact

January 18, 2024
Mosquito on the human skin

As warmer global temperatures expand mosquito habitats, the range and intensity of mosquito diseases continue to increase, with significant implications for public health. There have been new reports of these diseases in North America,1 alongside other public health concerns.

A Closer Look at 3 Types of Diseases From Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can transmit various diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, Zika virus, yellow fever, and chikungunya.2 While each can present significant public health concerns, this blog will focus on the first three, providing an overview of their prevalence, incubation period and symptoms, before highlighting some of the ways public health professionals can mitigate population risks.

West Nile Virus

You’ve probably already heard of this virus, first reported in the U.S. in 1999 and now widely established from Canada to Venezuela.3 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), virus activity in the continental U.S. typically occurs in the summer and fall.4 West Nile virus can cause serious disease, although 80 percent of people who contract the virus will show no signs or symptoms during the incubation period, which can range from three to 14 days.5 However, 20 percent of people who become infected will develop mild symptoms that mimic the flu (like fever, nausea and body aches). Of this 20 percent, roughly one in 150 people will become seriously ill, and these individuals will have symptoms that range from muscle weakness and loss of vision to permanent neurological impairments.

Dengue Fever

According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), dengue has become ”more serious, both in frequency and mortality,” since the beginning of the 21st century.6 The CDC wrote that every year, as many as 400 million people contract the virus and 40,000 die from severe cases.7 While rare in the U.S., some limited local spread of dengue has been reported in Florida, Hawaii, Texas and Arizona. The incubation period ranges from four to 10 days, and some of the primary symptoms include joint, muscle or eye pain, high fever, and a mild skin rash. A new vaccine is available for limited use in children aged 9-16.8


Possibly the deadliest of all mosquito-borne illnesses, malaria is also one of the oldest. According to the AMCA, it was described by the Chinese as early as 2700 BC.6 Climate change and supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-10 pandemic have contributed to recent global increases in malaria cases.9 The World Health Organization estimated 249 million cases in 2022, causing 608,000 deaths in 85 countries.10 The CDC website reports about 2,000 cases of malaria in the U.S. each year, with most cases in people who have traveled to places where malaria spreads.11 However, in the summer of 2023, some cases of locally transmitted malaria in Florida, Texas and Maryland put health officials on high alert.12

Luckily, unlike dengue and West Nile, there is a cure for malaria. With a wide-ranging incubation period between seven and 30 days, there are two distinct types of contraction: uncomplicated and severe. Severe malaria is a medical emergency that should be treated swiftly and aggressively.13

  • Severe symptoms can include hemolysis and anemia, kidney failure, low blood pressure, and hypoglycemia.
  • Uncomplicated symptoms resemble the flu, where an infected individual will have a headache, fever, body chills, vomiting and nausea.

How Public Health Professionals Help Guard Against Mosquito Diseases

Public health professionals can protect their communities from mosquito-borne diseases by increasing surveillance in potential hotspots, planning necessary adaptations, and promoting awareness of prevention strategies.1

Prevention Strategies to Mitigate Mosquito Threats

With guidance from public health professionals, communities can implement strategies such as habitat modification through landscaping, standing water and debris removal, and tactics to exclude mosquitos from living spaces, thus significantly reducing the risk of mosquito infestations and consequent diseases.14

Explore Disease Research in Kent State’s MPH Program

Become an expert who can help protect your community from threats like the mosquito diseases discussed here with the flexible online master’s in public health from Kent State University. With asynchronous online coursework, you can complete the degree designed for working professionals in as few as two years. In this flexible, affordable program, you can specialize in health policy and management, the social and behavioral sciences, or epidemiology. Schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor to learn more about the program and how it can fit into your life.

  1. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(21)00132-7/fulltext
  2. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from pfizer.com/news/articles/6_mosquito_diseases_that_can_be_deadly
  3. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/west-nile-virus
  4. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from cdc.gov/westnile/statsmaps/data-and-maps.html
  5. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from cdc.gov/westnile/resources/pdfs/wnvFactsheet_508.pdf
  6. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from mosquito.org/vector-borne-diseases/
  7. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from cdc.gov/dengue/about/index.html
  8. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from cdc.gov/dengue/vaccine/index.html
  9. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from who.int/news/item/30-11-2023-who-s-annual-malaria-report-spotlights-the-growing-threat-of-climate-change
  10. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malaria
  11. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from cdc.gov/malaria/about/
  12. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from emergency.cdc.gov/han/2023/han00496.asp
  13. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from cdc.gov/malaria/about/disease.html
  14. Retrieved on January 5, 2024, from infectioncontroltoday.com/view/the-rising-concern-malaria-and-mosquito-borne-diseases-us