Mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest creatures in the world because of the many diseases they can transmit. Mosquito-borne diseases include the Zika virus, dengue, malaria, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, and more. Different regions are impacted by different mosquito-borne diseases depending on climate, the types of mosquitoes common in the region, and access to preventative measures and medicine. However, the impact of such diseases remains widespread. In 2016, malaria alone was responsible for around 445,000 deaths worldwide.

In the United States, West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease, followed by malaria, dengue, and chikungunya. In 2016, there were over 2,100 cases of West Nile, with 442 cases occurring in the state of California. In that same year, West Nile was responsible for 106 deaths. In comparison, in 2015, there were 1,517 cases of malaria in the U.S. Furthermore, there were 248 cases of chikungunya virus in 2016, a large decrease from the 2,811 reported in 2014.

The Zika virus gained international attention in 2015 when an outbreak occurred in Brazil. Since then, the U.S. has also seen increases in Zika cases and much attention has been paid to the disease. In the period from January 2015 to January 2018, the state of New York reported over one thousand cases of the Zika virus, all travel associated. During this period, Florida and Texas were the only states to report Zika virus cases that were presumed to be acquired through local mosquito-borne transmission. Despite the attention around the Zika virus, around 47 percent of U.S. adults in 2017 stated they had little knowledge of the Zika virus.

Measures to prevent mosquito-borne diseases include vaccination, wearing insect repellant, killing mosquitoes, and isolating infected people from mosquitoes to interrupt the transmission cycle. In 2018, vector-borne disease funding from the National Institutes for Health (NIH) was expected to reach 587 million U.S. dollars, highlighting the importance of battling such diseases. This significance will possibly increase with time, as climate change spreads the distribution of disease-carrying mosquitoes in various parts of the world.

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