Mosquitoes may be tiny, but getting bitten by some of them can wreak havoc to our health.
Every year, vector-borne diseases, such as diseases spread by mosquitoes, kill more than 700,000 people worldwide, and is responsible for 17% of the estimated global burden of infectious diseases. In a tropical region like Singapore, our hot and humid weather makes it easy for mosquitos to thrive and breed, bringing this threat closer to home than you may think.
It is important to seek medical help immediately if you suspect you may be infected. Learn to recognise the signs of five of the deadliest mosquito-borne diseases to watch out for in our region:
1. Dengue Fever
Dengue fever is a viral disease that’s transmitted through an infected Aedes mosquito’s bite. It can be quite severe, especially amongst elderly folks or people with existing medical conditions. People can get infected with dengue up to four times in their lives, and subsequent infections can cause a greater risk of severe dengue. There is currently no cure or vaccine for the disease.
Find out more about common myths around dengue, so you can protect yourself and your loved ones from falling ill.
- Sudden fever for 2 to 7 days
- Severe headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Joint and muscle aches and pain
- Skin rash
- Mild bleeding
Zika is transmitted through an infected Aedes mosquito’s bite. Many infected people don’t have symptoms or have mild ones. However, zika can cause pregnancy complications if a pregnant mother is infected. It can also be passed from a pregnant mother to her fetus; and may cause birth defects in the child. Currently, there’s no available vaccine or medication for Zika.
- Joint and muscle pain
- Red eyes
Malaria is a life-threatening condition that’s spread via an infected anopheles mosquito’s bite. It occurs when an infected mosquito transfers the plasmodium parasite into your blood stream during a bite. Symptoms occur between 10 days to a month after infection.
- Shaking chills (moderate to severe)
- High fever
- Intense sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal and muscle pain
- Diarrhoea and bloody stools
4. Yellow Fever
Yellow fever is a serious flu-like disease that can be deadly. It causes high fever and jaundice, which occurs when your skin and eyes turn yellow, hence its name. Unfortunately, this disease is not curable and develops quickly, but it is also preventable with the yellow fever vaccine.
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
- Joint and muscle aches
5. Chikungunya Fever
Chikungunya fever is a viral disease that’s characterised by sudden fever and severe joint pain. Symptoms usually occur within three to seven days from infection. There’s no vaccine to prevent this illness, and no effective treatment as well. The illness doesn’t cause death and most patients start feeling better within a week, but its symptoms can be severe at times. Usually, treatment includes lots of rest, fluids and medications which targets the symptoms.
- Sudden fever
- Severe joint pain
- Muscle pain
While there are limited vaccines and cures for some of the more critical mosquito-borne diseases today, taking steps to protect yourself from mosquito bites is a crucial step to stay healthy. Simple actions such as applying insect repellent when you are outdoors and regularly clearing away stagnant water in your home can help to decrease the risk of falling ill from mosquito-borne diseases.
If you are feeling unwell, and suspect you may have contracted any of these diseases, see a doctor immediately. Speak to any of our doctors 24/7, over the DA app.