Diseases Carried by Bugs and Insects

mosquito bites

The one thing you need to understand about diseases and their link to insects and bugs is that the diseases they bring aren’t actually directly caused by them. This means that it likely brought instead by the organisms that get them when the insects or bugs bite. Simply put, the bugs and insects are actually the carriers of the disease and they spread them through biting or feeding. What’s inside them are microorganisms such as bacteria, protozoans, and viruses.

In science, the microorganisms are called as the pathogen while the insect or bug carrying them is referred to as the vector. And because every single one of us is prone to getting bitten by bugs and insects, it is imperative that we all know when a specific type will attack. While most of them are generally active both day and night, there are others that would prefer wreaking havoc at a very specific time of the day. The most notable example of course is mosquitoes, which will spread malaria after dark, while other species that carry the dengue virus usually do it in broad daylight.

(image credit: Quora.com)

(image credit: Quora.com)

So the general premise is that insect-borne diseases are scattered all over the world, but the thing is some areas are more prone to certain diseases while others are generally free of some of them as well. For instance, if you happen to live in a country that belongs to the tropical or subtropical zone, you should be aware of the deadliest diseases mostly carried by mosquitoes, including but not limited to malaria, yellow fever, and dengue. In Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Pacific, those previously mentioned diseases are accompanied by encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, and most recently, the West Nile virus.

For the areas in West Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the North American continent meanwhile, insects and bugs could potentially be carrying the West Nile virus, encephalitis, as well as several minor but not deadly diseases carried by ticks. But if you are residing somewhere in and around eastern and central Europe, including the former Soviet countries, you also should be aware that encephalitis can actually be carried by ticks, and mosquitoes and deer flies could be bringing with them lime disease and filariasis.

How to Prevent Insect Bites

(image credit: RodalesOrganicLife.com)

(image credit: RodalesOrganicLife.com)

The key to preventing insect bites is to take the proper precautions. The most effective prevention method is to apply repellents both on your skin and your clothing. Remember to use repellents that contain the right active ingredients that will effectively repel and deter insects from biting you.

Of all the ingredients found in insect repellents, a chemical called DEET is by far the most effective. Repellents containing it are readily available in different forms, including sprays, lotion, and creams. However, be wary of those that contain more than fifty percent of DEET because you don’t really need that much on your skin to act as repellent against insects and bugs.

Aside from DEET, a very common repellent ingredient is picaridin; though it isn’t as effective as DEET, it is however safe to be used for kids. And finally, there’s oil extracted from lemon eucalyptus, which is the safest and most harmless of all the ingredients used for repellents. Its downside however is that it isn’t as active and effective, which means you should be applying them as often as possible.