But why are mosquitoes so effective in spreading diseases? Lado says one reason for this is that female mosquitoes feed on blood, which means they can easily transfer pathogens from one person’s blood to another. They are also small and winged, so they can easily spread and bite humans unnoticed.
Then there is the fact that we share ecosystems and resources. Just as humans depend on water to live, mosquitoes rely on water to reproduce. Therefore, we usually live in the same places. “We can’t completely cut ourselves off from the habitat they need,” says Ladeau.
However, there are ways to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases. Even small improvements in infrastructure can make a big difference, notes Ladeau. For example, window screens can keep mosquitoes out of your home, and plumbing can keep water out of mosquitoes’ reach. One of the reasons why malaria is not prevalent in many parts of the world with better infrastructure is because of these facilities. In areas without these facilities, mosquito nets can help keep mosquitoes away from people’s beds. These precautions can also protect against other mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever, which kills tens of thousands of people each year.
But public health efforts against mosquito-borne diseases are more difficult under climate change conditions. As the planet warms, if more environments provide favorable conditions for these pathogens and the mosquitoes that carry them, these diseases could spread to new areas, Andy McDonald, a disease ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told LiveScience.
Of course, mosquitoes are not the only very deadly animals on our planet. Snakes kill 81,000 to 138,000 people every year and are considered one of the deadliest animals for humans. Also disease Rabies, which is transmitted through the bite of an infected mammal (usually a dog), kills about 59,000 people each year. Other animals, such as freshwater snails and assassin bugs, also transmit fatal diseases to humans and claim thousands of victims each year.
But only one animal competes with the mosquito for the title of deadliest animal to humans. According to United Nations estimates, in 2017, murder and armed conflict killed about 553,000 people, making humans one of the deadliest creatures on earth.