World Mosquito Day is celebrated on 20 August every year. The theme for World Mosquito Day 2021 is 'Reaching the zero malaria target'.
International Mosquito Day is a great day to recognise the efforts of Sir Ronald Ross who made a revolutionary discovery in 1897 that eventually led to the path-breaking association between mosquitoes and Malaria. Until then, the world was unaware of the link between mosquitoes and this fatal disease.
The day is held to educate people, raise awareness, and spread the word about mosquito-borne diseases. In many countries, the health department, various
organisations, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) distribute leaflets, posters, mosquito nets, coils, and quinine to people.
Mosquito-borne diseases can cause enormous suffering for people all over the world. Each year, nearly 700 million people are infected with mosquito-borne illnesses, resulting in over one million deaths. Malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever, West Nile fever, and Zika are some of the most common mosquito-borne diseases.
Bangladesh has become a suitable breeding ground for mosquitoes as a result of its hot and humid climate, unplanned urbanisation, flaws in the waste management system, and our lack of knowledge. So far, 123 mosquito species have been identified in Bangladesh, 14 of which are found in Dhaka.
Every year, thousands of people in Bangladesh are infected with mosquito-borne diseases. The cost of mosquito control and mosquito-borne disease treatment exceeds a hundred billion taka.
Dengue, chikungunya, malaria, filariasis, and Japanese encephalitis are the most common mosquito-borne diseases in Bangladesh.
Dengue fever was first identified in Bangladesh in 2000, infecting 5,500 people. Since then, there has been more or less dengue every year, but the country has seen the worst of dengue in 2019. Dengue infected 101,354 people that year, according to government estimates, and 179 died.
As of August 17, 2021, approximately 7,000 people had been infected with dengue, with 26 deaths. Dengue fever is spread by two types of Aedes mosquitos that carry the dengue virus.
The first is Aedes aegypti, and the second is Albopictus. Aedes aegypti is known as the urban or city mosquito or the domestic mosquito, while Aedes albopictus is known as the Asian tiger mosquito or the rural mosquito. Aedes mosquitoes breed in water containers and are most prevalent during the rainy season. As a result, the prevalence of dengue fever rises during the rainy season.
Chikungunya, like dengue, is spread by the Aedes mosquito. It was first discovered in Bangladesh in 2006. From 2011 to 2016, it was diagnosed almost every year. During 2016-2017, Dhaka had a high prevalence of Chikungunya.
Seven species of Anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria in Bangladesh. Of these, four species are said to be the principal vector. Outbreaks of malaria have been reported in 13 bordering districts of Bangladesh.
The worst malaria outbreak since 2000 occurred in 2008, when 84,690 people became infected with the parasite and 154 died. In 2019, the number of cases in Bangladesh fell to 16,225. The malaria vector, Anopheles mosquitoes, breed more in the summer-monsoon season, and thus, the incidence of this disease is higher during this time.
Filariasis is more or less found in about 34 districts of north-west-south of Bangladesh. The disease causes abnormal swelling of the hand, limbs, and other organs. Locally, this disease is called Goad (Elephantiasis) disease.
Once upon a time, the disease was widespread, but it has now been brought under control thanks to our government's Filaria Elimination Programme. In Bangladesh, the disease is spread by two species of Culex mosquitoes and one species of Mansonia mosquito.
Japanese encephalitis was first identified in Bangladesh in 1977 in the Madhupur forest area. Later, the disease was discovered in Rajshahi, Rangpur, Chittagong, and Khulna at different times. Culex mosquitoes transmit Japanese encephalitis.
Because the diseases described are mosquito-borne, the main and one of the best ways to avoid them is to stay away from mosquitoes. The general public should be educated on healthy living habits and simple ways to avoid mosquito breeding in and around their homes.
Only by properly controlling mosquitoes can we protect ourselves from the deadly mosquito-borne disease. Only a collaborative effort by all of us can save our families and our country from mosquito-borne diseases.
Dr. Kabirul Bashar is a professor at Jahangirnagar University. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.