Mosquitoes can transmit
a number of deadly diseases when they bite.
Historically, the most important mosquito-borne
diseases have been malaria, filariasis and
viruses such as yellow fever, dengue and West Nile
fever. Malaria still contributes to high death
rates in developing countries and to global poverty.
West Nile fever has, in recent years, generated a
lot of concern in the US.
Malaria is caused by a
protozoan parasite called a plasmodium. The parasite
infects red blood cells causing a relapsing fever.
During the parasite's life cycle certain stages
attack the liver. Death from malaria is often caused
by liver failure.
recently, quinine was the only medicine for
the treatment of malaria and was produced from the
bark of the cinchoa tree. The books below
are accounts of the natural history of mosquitoes
and the historical search for a source of quinine in
the tropical rain forests of South America.
Synthetic drugs have now largely replaced quinine
for the treatment of malaria.
CDC - Malaria Web Site