Intriguing how it may sound to some, but there is a day dedicated to one of man’s worst enemies, mosquitos. World Mosquito Day is observed every year on August 20. The day is dedicated to the discovery made in context with malaria. It was on this day in the year 1897, Sir Ronald Ross, made a landmark discovery about how the infection is transmitted to the human body. He discovered the malaria parasite in the stomach tissue of Anopheles mosquito. Later, based on his work and findings, it was established that mosquitoes are vectors that carry the life-threatening malaria parasite from human to human.
Malaria was discovered in India
Sir Ronald Ross was educated as a doctor in England, however, at the time he discovered the malarial parasites, he was working in Indian Medical Services and was placed at Secunderabad.
His notes, that were later published, read:
“The 20 August 1895 [sic]-the anniversary of which I always call Mosquito Day – was, I think, a cloudy, dull hot day. I went to hospital at 7 a.m., examined my patients, and attended to official correspondence; but was much annoyed because my men had failed to bring any more larvae of the dappled-winged mosquitoes, and still more because one of my three remaining Anopheles had died during the night and had swelled up with decay. After a hurried breakfast at the Mess, I returned to dissect the cadaver (Mosquito 36), but found nothing new in it. I then examined a small Stegomyia, which happened to have been fed on Husein Khan on the same day (the 16th) —Mosquito 87—which was also negative, of course. At about I p.m. I was determined to sacrifice the seventh Anopheles (A. stephensi) of the batch fed on the 16th, Mosquito 38, although my eyesight was already fatigued. Only one more of the batch remained.”
Aim of World Mosquito Day
The day is aimed at spreading awareness among people to take safety measures and protect them from the diseases spread by mosquitoes. It is a step towards recognizing all creatures and animals and how each living being plays an important role in the circle of life. Humans are an integral part of nature, wherein, some other creatures help and support our existence, while others pose a threat to us. It is our duty to avoid coming in contact with the ones which pose a threat to us.
How malaria transformed the health industry
World Mosquito Day was announced to promote the discovery of Sir Ronald Ross. It was started to be observed in the early 1930’s. At that time, it was very important to explain to the common masses about the threats that mosquitoes pose to the human body.
The discoveries made in this direction considerably transformed the health industry. Companies and organizations involved in the health segment introduced products to ensure the protection of humans from mosquitoes.
More and more companies started introducing mosquito repellents and similar products in the market. More importantly, people started to use these products and soon these products became a part of their lives. It solved the problem of parasitic infection to a greater extent as the repellents kept the mosquitoes at bay.
Creating further awareness
Mosquitoes are the cause behind the spread of malaria, however, it is curable and can be prevented. Sadly, there is still a lot of misconception and misinformation associated with malaria. Most people are still unaware of the fact that only female anopheles mosquitoes that are infected are responsible for spreading malaria. This needs to be promoted more aggressively. Several events and talks are organized by various organizations, marking the World Mosquito Day.
Prevention against malaria
It is very important to stay safe and protect ourselves from mosquito bite. If a mosquito is carrying a malaria parasite and it sticks its needle into your body, the parasite is released into your bloodstream and it further infects the whole body.
It is important to know that mosquitoes are usually active during the night hours and dusk, and they usually do not bite during the day. They can detect human sweat or CO2 from as far as 50 yards. World Mosquito Day is doing its bit in spreading the much-needed awareness about parasitic diseases triggered by mosquitoes.