Mosquito Bites And Shivering Human Population
With global warming the threat of mosquitoes is increasing at alarming rate. Although tropical areas are ideal regions for mosquito population but with the rise of global temperature and associated changes in climatic conditions their population may spread to other regions too. The mosquito bites are on the rise and have become major global public health issue with life threatening diseases like Malaria, Zika virus, Dengue,West Nile Virus,Yellow Fever etc.
The diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are called vector borne and affect more than 700 million humans worldwide. Around one million people are killed every year by the deadly viruses and pathogens spread by mosquitoes. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines for most of the viruses. The virus use mosquitoes as a host where they reproduce themselves and transmitted to humans through bites. The virus transmission can also take place through blood, organ transplants and even breast feeding.
The most affected regions by dengue are South East Asia and Western Pacific Islands but spreading very fast in other regions too. The dengue virus flourishes in tropical and subtropical regions. Chikungunya is another dangerous virus threat in Asian and Africa regions.
Malaria is major killer in Sub Saharan African countries like Congo, Chad and Niger. Around half of population of the world is at risk due to Malaria. In south and East Asia India is most affected country by Malaria. In 2015 only, around 4.38 lakh people died due to malaria .The most affected sections of the society are young children, pregnant women, travelers and traders. The lack of sanitation and hygienic conditions in developing and poor countries is ideal for breeding of the mosquito population.
The high temperature and water logging conditions help in mosquito development. Although it is tropical insect but due to global warming and favorable ecological habitats the areas far away from equator may face surge of mosquito bites. Areas like northern America and Canada may witness rise in population of mosquitoes.
The high temperature and humid conditions enhance the productivity of the mosquitoes .The egg lying time is decreased which ultimately increases the number of eggs. The ecological and climatic changes also alter the transmission and infection rates of the viruses and pathogens .The high temperature decrease the time taken to transmit the disease by mosquitoes in humans. The rising temperature also reduces the total time taken to develop the virus inside the mosquito .The mosquitoes themselves are also good at adoption of changing environment. This change in the life cycle development of mosquitoes enhances their survival and population.
The global warming is not only single factor responsible for the rise of mosquito population but there are many human activities which compliments their growth. The unplanned urbanization and land use change provides habitats for them. There is no proper passage of rain water and water logging conditions prevail. The standing water is main cause of development of mosquitoes. The extreme climatic conditions like more frequent floods also contribute in population growth. The developing nations and poor countries are most affected by climate change. Trade and travel also spread the diseases from one region to another region of the earth. DDT was used earlier as repellent which was powerful insecticide. Now DDT is phased out long ago but its presence in environment acted as barrier for growth now that impact has been subsided and mosquitoes have recovered from DDT blow.
The globalization, trade development and migration of people also help in spreading of invasive species. For an example the Asian Tiger Mosquito is not native to American land but there have been cases of dengue in many states.
The rising population of mosquitoes has various socio economic impacts. The human lives are lost which have major bearing on the life of family members. The productive human capital is lost which impacts the economy of the nation. The Japanese encephalitis virus carried by mosquito can have damage the mind and memory of the children. This dangerous fever is prevalent in Asia and West pacific area.
The remedy lies in adoption and prevention. The focus of the world should be on green economy and technologies so that net carbon emission can be controlled. According to latest IPCC special report 2018 on global warming we will attain 1.5 degree centigrade rise above industrial level just between 2032 and 2050.
The following measures can be taken to control the rise and spread of mosquitoes.
-The members in the community should be made aware to get rid of standing water.
-Use of insect repellent in the premises.
-The local government and bodies should make sure that there is no unused plot full with water.
-The water from flood should be drained away as soon as possible.
-Proper drainage and waste management system should be in place.
-Proper planning of urbanization and slums should be taken care.
-Students should be taught about prevention techniques.
-The home windows and doors should be covered by screens.
-People can cover full body when they move outside the home.
-If there is suspicion on outbreak of disease the airports or depots should be equipped with latest technologies so that spread of disease can be controlled.
-The insecticide treated nets can be used to remove the contact of mosquitoes from human.
-Predator fish like bluegill can be used in ponds or lakes.
-People traveling for warm places should take protective measures and if bitten proper vaccination should be done.
-Interestingly there are many natural plants which can keep mosquitoes away from the house like Lemon balm, Peppermint, Marigold, Garlic and Lavender. They not only keep away the insects but also help the aesthetic of the houses and clean the air.
Although global warming helping in mosquito growth but it is up to humans how they manage their living and surrounding environment and eco system so that impacts of outbreak can be minimized. The adoption of sustainable practices and awareness is the way forward.