List of Mosquito-Borne Diseases

When a mosquito feeds on blood, it also swallows any viruses or parasites living in the blood. These viruses and parasites can be transferred to the next person the mosquito bites through its saliva. Any disease that is spread in this way from mosquito to human (or animal) is known as a 'mosquito-borne disease'. While the mosquito may not be affected, these mosquito-borne diseases can cause immense suffering for humans. 

In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO), reported that vector-borne diseases account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than 700 000 deaths annually. They can be caused by either parasites, bacteria or viruses. Other viral diseases transmitted by vectors include chikungunya fever, Zika virus fever, yellow fever, West Nile fever, Japanese encephalitis - all transmitted by mosquitoes.

Many of vector-borne diseases are preventable, through protective measures, and community mobilisation.


Cache Valley

Cache Valley virus can cause an illness with fever or more severe disease, including infection of the brain (encephalitis) or the lining around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).   


The most common symptoms of infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean, Indian and Pacific Oceans.


Dengue symptoms include Belly pain, tenderness, vomiting (at least 3 times in 24 hours), bleeding from the nose or gums, vomiting blood, or blood in the stool, feeling tired, restless, or irritable. Dengue is the most prevalent viral infection transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. More than 3.9 billion people in over 129 countries are at risk of contracting dengue, with an estimated 96 million symptomatic cases and an estimated 40,000 deaths every year. About 1 in 20 people who get sick with dengue will develop severe dengue. Severe dengue can result in shock, internal bleeding, and even death. Severe dengue can be life-threatening within a few hours and often requires care at a hospital.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) can result in febrile illness (fever) or neurologic disease, including meningitis (infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord) or encephalitis (infection of the brain). Only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Most cases occur in eastern or Gulf Coast states. Although rare, EEE is very serious. Approximately 30% of people with EEE die and many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems. 

Jamestown Canyon

Fever, headache, and fatigue are common symptoms with Jamestown Canyon virus disease. Jamestown Canyon virus can cause severe disease, including encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). There are no vaccines to prevent or medicines to treat Jamestown Canyon virus infection.

Japanese encephalitis (JE) 

Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable encephalitis in Asia and the western Pacific. Most people infected with JE do not have symptoms or have only mild symptoms. However, a small percentage of infected people develop inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), with symptoms including sudden onset of headache, high fever, disorientation, coma, tremors and convulsions. About 1 in 4 cases are fatal.

LaCrosse Encephalitis

Most people infected with the virus do not have symptoms. Some people may develop severe disease, including encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Severe disease occurs most often in children under 16 years of age. Most cases occur in the upper Midwestern, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern states.

Rift Valley fever (RVF) 

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever that is most commonly seen in domesticated animals (such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels) and can also cause illness in people.  Although RVF often causes severe illness in animals, most people with RVF have either no symptoms or a mild illness with fever, weakness, back pain, and dizziness. However, a small percentage (8-10%) of people with RVF develop much more severe symptoms, including eye disease, hemorrhage (excessive bleeding), and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

Ross River virus disease 

Most people who get Ross River virus do not feel sick. For those who do get sick, symptoms include joint pain and swelling, muscle pain, fever, tiredness, and rash. Most patients recover within a few weeks, but some people experience joint pain, joint stiffness, or tiredness for many months.

St. Louis encephalitis (SLE)

Most people infected with the St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus do not have symptoms. Those people who do become ill may experience fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. Some people may develop neuroinvasive disease, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord). In rare cases, long-term disability or death can occur. There are no vaccines to prevent or medicines to treat SLE.

West Nile Virus (WNV) 

West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States.  There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.

Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE)

Most people infected with this virus will have either no symptoms or a mild flu-like illness. Most severe human cases begin with a sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting, or weakness. The illness may progress to disorientation, irritability, seizures and coma. Approximately 5-15% of these encephalitis cases are fatal, and about 50% of surviving infants will have permanent brain damage.

Yellow Fever 

The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. Illness ranges from a fever with aches and pains to severe liver disease with bleeding and yellowing skin (jaundice). Yellow fever infection is diagnosed based on laboratory testing, a person’s symptoms, and travel history. There is no medicine to treat or cure infection.

Zika Virus 

Zika virus is a concern in many parts of the world. While most people who become infected with Zika virus have mild symptoms or no illness at all, the virus has been linked to serious health conditions, including Zika congenital syndrome in babies. Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are: fever, rash, headache, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and muscle pain.


Dirofilariasis (dog heartworm)

Human dirofilariasis typically manifests as either subcutaneous nodules or as lung parenchyma disease. Patients infected with D. repens notice a subcutaneous lump in the affected area which most commonly includes; face and conjunctiva of the eye and sometimes chest wall, upper arms, thighs, abdominal wall and male genitalia. Ocular involvement is usually periorbital, orbital, subconjunctival, or subtenon infection. Human D. immitis infection has been associated with the human pulmonary dirofilariasis and is usually asymptomatic. Those with symptoms have cough, chest pain, fever, and pleural effusion

Lymphatic filariasis 

Lymphatic filariasis, considered globally as a neglected tropical disease (NTD), is a parasitic disease caused by microscopic, thread-like worms. The adult worms only live in the human lymph system. People with the disease can suffer from lymphedema and elephantiasis and in men, swelling of the scrotum, called hydrocele. Lymphatic filariasis is a leading cause of permanent disability worldwide.


Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die. In 2020 an estimated 241 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 627,000 people died, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the deaths occur in children under the age of 5 years.

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