Top Mosquito-Borne illnesses in the U.S. — Joshua’s student essay

Top Mosquito-Borne illnesses in The U.S

There are a few major mosquito-borne illnesses that plague Americans to this day. These diseases can be especially dangerous because anyone can be bitten by mosquitoes and any mosquito can carry one of these deadly diseases. Improved cleanliness and an increased standard of living have both lessened the effects experienced from these diseases but none of them have been eradicated due to the fact that they are highly infectious and it is difficult to pinpoint where one person gets one of these diseases.

Recently in Utah, where I live, we had an outbreak of the West Nile Virus. Its origins are from Uganda in 1937 and from there spread all across the globe. West Nile Virus circulates between mammals, birds, and mosquitoes. It can be described as one of four illnesses: West Nile Fever is the least severe and just acts like the flu for the most part. Symptoms can last anywhere from 30-60 days. The other three types are more severe as they are neuroinvasive diseases, which affect the brain. Since its introduction to North America in 1999, 36,000 cases have been reported to the CDC, 1500 of which were fatal.

mosquito bites.

A second common mosquito-borne disease in the United States is malaria. This disease is of ancient date and can be seen described by the Chinese as far back as 2700 BC. The word “malaria” is Italian, meaning “bad air.” In the 1700’s it was thought to come from the air, from swarms and rivers. Since the advancement of the general standard of living across the world, including air conditioners and window screens, the effects of malaria have significantly decreased. Even still, over a million death are attributed to malaria each year. Every 40 seconds a child dies from malaria. It affected American colonists and wasn’t kept under control of America until the 1940s. There was a resurgence of cases in the United State in the 1960s and early 1970’s due to troops returning from Vietnam. Minor outbreaks have been reported sporadically throughout the 20th century as well.

Tiger Mosquito

Another widely spread disease in the United States is the Zika virus. This was first discovered in Uganda in 1947. In 2014, a case of the Zika virus was discovered on the coast of South America. Since then, the Zika virus has been detected in 35 countries across the Americas. Though there is no record of Zika spreading among communities in the United States, there have been about 600 cases in the US due to travel to endemic areas. The effects are usually mild, though a pregnant woman with the Zika virus could experience severe birth defects with their babies. The baby will often be born with a smaller brain or skull size.

Because all of these diseases can be very dangerous, there are certain precautions that everyone should take, especially during the summer months when mosquitoes tend to be out in full force. One should apply bug repellent when spending a long period of time outside and wear long clothing when possible. When you are bitten, one should also monitor the size of the mosquito bite and seek medical attention if the bite grows too big.

Author: Joshua Speth

Utah State University


American Mosquito Control Association. “Mosquito-Borne Diseases.”, American Mosquito Control Association,

Student Scholarships

Every year Thrive Pest Control hosts an essay contest and the reward is a 1-year scholarship at a 4-year university in the United States. This blog post is one of those scholarships.