7 diseases caused by mosquito bites

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Mosquito bites are the red, itchy bumps that develop after mosquitoes pierce your skin to feed on your blood. Usually, the bump caused due to mosquito bites disappears within a few days.

A mosquito bite can occasionally result in significant swelling, discomfort and redness. The term “skeeter syndrome” has been used to describe this kind of reaction, which is particularly frequent in youngsters.

Mosquitoes are troublesome living organisms, especially for humans since primitive times. Not only because they feed on human blood and cause skin itchiness and rashes but also because they are the carriers of many diseases.

Mosquitoes, while feeding blood from any organism, often swallow bacteria, parasites, or viruses present in that organism. They pass these microorganisms to other organisms that they feed on. In this manner, mosquitoes spread disease-causing parasites, bacteria, and viruses—such diseases are called mosquito-borne diseases. 

Even while being the carrier of disease-causing microorganisms, mosquitoes will not get affected by them. But they cause mild to severe symptoms to humans based on the disease they spread. 

 diseases caused by mosquito bites

What are the diseases caused by mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes are responsible for spreading various diseases. They can be vector-borne, parasitic or bacterial diseases. The rate of spread of diseases by mosquitoes is highest in tropical areas. Some of the major diseases caused by a mosquito bite are:


Malaria is one of the ancient diseases that affects humans. It is one of the most prominent diseases caused by mosquitoes in India. 

It is caused by the malarial parasite known as Plasmodium. This parasite is transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes upon feeding on human blood. 

Malaria is caused by the following four types of Plasmodium parasites:

  • P. falciparum
  • P. vivax
  • P. ovale
  • P. malariae

Malaria can pose a real threat to your life if left untreated. However, treatments for malaria are readily available in most places. Malaria is nearly eradicated in European nations, while it is still a big burden in countries that fall between the tropical areas. 

Malaria is not a contagious disease. It spreads through:

Common symptoms of malaria

The following are some of the common symptoms of malaria:

With proper preventive measures and treatments, this disease can be eradicated.


Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that is most common in tropical and sub-tropical areas. There are four types of viruses that are responsible for causing dengue, and all are transmitted by mosquitoes. 

Most dengue cases are caused by female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. They carry the dengue virus by feeding a dengue-affected person and spreading them around. 

You will not get dengue by being around a dengue-affected person. Once you get dengue from any one of the four viruses, you will develop long-term immunity to that particular virus but not to the other three types. 

Dengue is also one of the common diseases caused by mosquitoes in India. The vector-borne mosquito diseases’ symptoms vary based on the type of infection and its severity. Dengue symptoms include:

  • Bone, joint and muscle pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe headache
  • Pain in eyes
  • Swollen glands

If the dengue virus affects the blood vessels and reduces the platelet count in the blood, it is a clear indication of severe dengue. This is called hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. It is the most extreme form of dengue and can lead to organ failure, internal bleeding and even death. 

Some of its symptoms include:

  • Extreme stomach pain
  • Gum bleeding and nose bleeding
  • Blood in urine, stool or vomit
  • Skin bruises with blood under the skin
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe fatigue

If you experience any of the symptoms, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Severe dengue is a life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical intervention. 

Zika virus

Zika virus spreads through the species of Aedes mosquitoes. These types of mosquitoes are found all over the world. Mostly, people who have been bitten by such mosquitoes wouldn’t show any symptoms. 

However, this virus can be detrimental to some people, especially pregnant women.

Zika virus makes a person exhibit the following symptoms:

Sometimes, pregnant women are prone to Zika virus. It causes serious birth defects and also affects infants. This is known as Congenital Zika Syndrome. The risks in infants include:

  • Smaller brain and head size (microcephaly)
  • Brain damage
  • Reduced brain tissue
  • Damage in eyes
  • Joint problems with reduced mobility

This virus can be prevented by having a clean environment and employing techniques to avoid exposure to mosquitoes. 

Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a viral disease caused by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the same type of mosquito that causes dengue. Mostly, people affected by this virus do not show any symptoms. However, its severity can increase and the symptoms can also be severe in the worst cases. 

It is one of the common diseases caused by a mosquito bite that affects both humans and monkeys. If the infection becomes severe, it affects major organs such as the heart, liver and kidney.

People with yellow fever show some of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle ache in back and knees
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness 
  • Loss of appetite

If the disease is severe, the symptoms include:

  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Decreased urination
  • Bleeding through the nose, eyes and mouth
  • Kidney and liver failure
  • Brain dysfunctions, seizures and coma

This disease can be prevented with vaccines. A single dose of vaccine can give protection for up to 10 years. In addition, reducing exposure to mosquitoes can help in preventing this disease.


Chikungunya is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes that cause severe muscle pain and fever. This is one of the common diseases caused by a mosquito bite. It is not a fatal disease but causes discomfort in muscles and joints. 

Chikungunya does not usually pose severe symptoms. It generally causes discomfort for a limited time. But some people may experience pain in joints that can extend even for months. 

Some common symptoms of Chikungunya include:

  • Sudden high fever
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Arthritis
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Maculopapular rash
  • Conjunctivitis

Out of all diseases caused by mosquitoes in India, the threat of Chikungunya is often overshadowed by Malaria and Dengue. However, this disease can pose a major threat if left unchecked.

Since there is no vaccine to prevent this disease, Chikungunya can be prevented using mosquito repellents, covering the windows and incorporating techniques to avoid exposure to mosquitoes.

Lymphatic filariasis

Lymphatic filariasis is a disease spread by mosquitoes. This parasitic disease is also known as elephantiasis. It causes abnormal swell in body parts such as calves and thickening of the skin. 

If you search on the internet about diseases caused by mosquitoes with pictures, you will see some pictures in which people have huge inflammation in calves, arms and scrotum. This is caused by filarial parasites—a type of roundworm that is transmitted by mosquitoes. 

Most of the affected people do not show any critical symptoms. But for some people, severe symptoms start appearing at later stages. They include:

  • Inflammation
  • Lymphedema—accumulation of fluid in the lymphatic system
  • Hydrocele—fluid build-up and swelling in the scrotum
  • Oedema—swelling in arms, legs, breasts, etc.

When parasitic worms enter your bloodstream through mosquito bites, they travel to your lymphatic system. They stay there for up to 7 years and make their own asymbiotic environment. From there, they reproduce and release numerous worms into your bloodstream. 

There is no vaccine to prevent this disease. There is also no solid treatment to cure this disease. 

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a common viral infection caused by mosquitoes, especially in Asia. It is caused by flavivirus that belongs to the same genus as that of Dengue and Yellow fever. It is transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. 

Japanese encephalitis was first documented in Japan in 1871, hence the name. Encephalitis causes inflammation in the brain and causes severe fever with seizures, headache, confusion and can even lead to death.

Some common symptoms of Japanese encephalitis include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremours
  • Disorientation in the brain
  • Convulsions in children 
  • Coma

This disease can be prevented by a vaccine with usually two doses. Apart from vaccines, a hygienic and clean environment will greatly reduce the proliferation of mosquitoes that cause this disease. 

La Crosse Encephalitis

An infected mosquito bite is the primary method of transmission for La Crosse encephalitis. Even though not all mosquito bites may result in illness, you should still take precautions to keep your family and yourself safe while spending time outside.

Rift Valley Fever

The viral zoonosis known as Rift Valley fever (RVF) typically affects animals but can also infect humans. Most human diseases are brought on by coming into contact with an infected animal’s blood or organs. The bites of infected mosquitoes can also cause disease in humans.

Snowshoe Hare Virus

The mosquito-transmitted disease infects wild mammals. The flu-like illness, headache, nausea, vomiting, seizures and confusion are the symptoms of the snowshoe hare virus.

Prevention of Mosquito bites

The following are some of the preventive measures to be taken to avoid mosquito bites.

Use insect repellent

Insect repellants should only be applied to clothing or exposed skin. Use only outside of garments. Apply it especially around the ears and avoid getting any on your eyes or lips. Spray on hands first, then apply to face when using sprays. Avoid spraying directly into the face.

Use protective clothing

To protect exposed skin from mosquitoes:

  1. Use DEET (diethyltoluamide) insect repellent.
  2. Cover mattresses with mosquito netting.
  3. Install screens on the doors and windows.
  4. Apply permethrin, an insect repellent, on clothing, mosquito nets, tents, sleeping bags and other materials.

Try to stay indoors

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes sting between sunset and sunrise. Stay indoors to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes during this period. Try to wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a cap if you are outside. Only apply insect repellent to exposed skin; do not use it on hidden skin.

Anti-malarial drugs

Take antimalarial drugs to get rid of the parasites and avoid getting sick. Prevent insect bites, particularly at night. Wearing long sleeves if you’re outside at night, use bed nets coated with insecticide.

Summing up

Most mosquito-borne diseases are caused because of the rapid spread of mosquitoes. Due to the fact that mosquitoes thrive in a warm and moist climate, many diseases borne by mosquitoes are common in tropical areas. 

But with global warming and change in the climatic pattern all over the world, the risk of mosquito-borne diseases can widen even beyond the tropics. 

Proper mosquito-controlling mechanisms and keeping a clean surrounding will greatly help in preventing these diseases. 

Therefore, if you are one of the people mosquitoes love to bite, it’s because your body produces more CO2, heat or lactic acid.

There are several steps available to lessen the risk of mosquito bites.

Always try to stick with a natural insect repellent on your skin, like citronella, lemongrass or mint.


How long after being bitten by a mosquito does it start to itch?

Most of the time, redness and puffiness develop shortly after the mosquito pierces the skin. However, these symptoms may appear 48 hours after the initial bite.

What heals mosquito bites quick?

Ice, antihistamines, aloe vera, honey and hydrocortisone are some things that heal mosquito bites quickly.

What can you not do when bitten by a mosquito?

1. Use soap and water to clean the area. 
2. Use calamine lotion or itching relief cream.
3. Apply a cold compress to the bite. 
4. Use a prescription-free antihistamine.

When should you worry about a mosquito bite?

You should worry when the appearance of the swollen bump turns firm, itchy and reddish-brown pimples.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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