General

How did mosquitoes change the world?

Throughout the story, the damage done by these tinyinsects, determined the fate of empires, paralyzed economic activity and predicted the outcome of decisive wars. On their way, mosquitoes killed almost half of humanity. Between 1980 and 2010, between 1,200,000 and 2,780,000 people died of malaria every year. According to the report of the World Health Organization for 2017, 435 thousand people died from malaria (among 219 million cases), of which two-thirds are children under five years of age. This means that malaria may have killed more people than any other disease in history.

Content

  • 1 What is dangerous mosquitoes
  • 2 What is malaria?
  • 3 How to distinguish between a regular mosquito and a malaria one?
  • 4 Where you get malaria
  • 5 Malaria in Russia
  • 6 Is there a malaria vaccine?

What is dangerous mosquitoes

Harmless on first sight, mosquitoesfound in almost all corners of our planet. Appearing on Earth more than 100 million years ago, mosquitoes number about 3,000 species. Common mosquitoes that live in warm tropical regions are more common than others. Their main victim is a man, however, these insects do not disdain to feast on the juice and nectar of plants, as well as the blood of other animals. In warm and humid places, insects are active throughout the year, but where climatic conditions make people warm, mosquitoes winter, hibernating or the so-called diapause (one of the stages of development of the insect).

During evolution, mosquitoes have adapted to carryexposure to freezing temperatures. These guys manage to breed even in the Arctic, let alone a temperate and warm climate. By the way, there are no mosquitoes in only one place on Earth - Antarctica.

What is malaria?

This is what malaria looks like in blood cells

Life in hot countries is fraught with constantdanger due to mosquitoes. In addition to malaria, mosquitoes are carriers of Dengue fever, which today poses a serious threat to the population of subtropical and tropical regions.

Malaria is an infectious diseasetransmitted to a person with a bite of a female malaria mosquito. The insect saliva, which the mosquito injects under the skin during a bite, contains anticoagulants that interfere with blood coagulation. It also contains parasites of the genus Plasmodium, which are the causative agents of malaria. Once in the blood, parasites attack the liver, where they multiply, subsequently destroying red blood cells - red blood cells.

Scientists have discovered in West and Central Africaevidence that malaria accompanied humans throughout history - the age of mosquito fossils found by archaeologists with the remains of parasites is estimated at 30 million years.

Radiation and biological weapons destroyed mosquitoes in China

Malaria is dangerous because it does not occur immediately. After a bite, 1 to 4 weeks may pass. Symptoms include headache, fever, aching joints, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, etc. Malaria is characterized by a cyclical course, exacerbating and subsiding every 6 or 10 hours. It is worth noting that mortality among patients is from 80 to 90%.

The great commander and politician Hannibal

Genghis Khan, Christopher Columbus, Atilla, AlexanderMacedonian and many other leaders of history fell victims of malaria. It is not known what human civilization would be today if it were not for mosquitoes. Indeed, it was thanks to them that the Roman Empire was obliged to save Hannibal and his army from the sworn enemy. And how much was then not counted.

How to distinguish a regular mosquito from a malarial?

It looks like an ordinary mosquito

But if mosquitoes are so dangerous, how do you know whichof which a peddler of malaria, and which not? Thanks to evolution that has not spared these unpleasant creatures, we know the answer. Anopheles malaria mosquitoes have rather long legs, and dark spots can be seen on the wings. The size of such a mosquito is approximately 6-7 mm, and even these insects have a narrow abdomen, narrow wings and a protruding breast.

And it looks like a malaria mosquito

Malaria mosquitoes are often called such largemosquitoes with long legs. You can meet them in our country quite often, but these guys are harmless and don’t even drink blood. Moreover, this is a separate family of long-legged mosquitoes, of which there are about 4200 species.

And this is how a mosquito-centipede looks

Where do you get malaria?

Malaria is a very common disease, butspecial care should be taken when visiting Africa, Central and South America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and countries with tropical and subtropical climates.

Note that the activity of malaria mosquitoes inregions depends on the time of year. For example, in Ghana, Angola and Guinea, malaria rages all year round, in Zimbabwe only from November to June, and in Iran and Iraq from March to November.

Malaria in Russia

If you thought that before Russia these dangerousinsects have not reached, we hasten to upset you. Mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles fly through the territory of our vast country. But if there are mosquitoes, then where is malaria? The fact is that malaria parasites wintering inside the female of the genus Anopheles cannot survive our winter.

Even more interesting about mosquitoes and the Arctic can be found on our channel in Yandex.Zen

However, cases of malaria in Russia are known. They occur mainly with tourists returning from regions where malaria is a common occurrence.

Is there a malaria vaccine?

The 21st century has brought good news. Among them, the creation of a vaccine against malaria, which was successfully tested in 2017. In general, vaccinations are the best way to save both your life and the lives of others. If you ever plan to go to Congo, for example, be sure to get the vaccine two weeks before your intended trip and try to avoid meeting mosquitoes.

What do you think our world would be like without mosquitoes? Share your opinion in the comments in our Telegram chat.