The Spanish called them "musketas". Native Hispanic Americans called them "zancudos". In North American they are know as mosquitoes. There are over 2700 species of mosquitoes worldwide. All of the males feed on nectar. And for many species, the females also feed on nectar. But for some species, the females need your blood to lay their eggs. And what do you get in return? Maybe a disease.

Mosquito Borne Diseases

Malaria - an infectious disease caused protozoan parasites that is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions and transmitted by mosquitoes. The parasites multiply within red blood cells causing anemia. Anemia symptoms include light-headedness, shortness of breath and tachycardia. Flu like symptoms may also occur such as fever, chills and nausea, flu-like illness. Severe cases may cause coma, and death.

Yellow Fever - an acute viral disease, spread by mosquitoes causing hemorrhagic illness in tropical and subtropical areas. Jaundice symptoms appear in some patients, thus the name yellow. Most cases cause only a mild infection along with a fever, headache, chills, back pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms abate in three to four days, but in some cases the disease enters a second phase. This toxic phase of the disease exhibits recurring fever, and jaundice caused by liver damage. In twenty percent of the cases, the toxic phase is fatal.

Dengue Fever and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) - a viral disease widespread by mosquitoes in the tropics. DHF is also know as break-bone fever or bonecrusher disease. The disease is characterized with a sudden onset of severe headache, muscle and joint pains, a fever and a rash.

Filariasis - a parasitic disease caused by the mosquito-borne thread-like filarial nematode worms. Lymphatic Filariasis occurs when the lymph nodes are infected. In chronic cases this becomes the disease Elephantiasis. Subcutaneous Filariasis occurs whe the subcutaneous layer of the skin is infected. And, Serous Cavity Filariasis occurs when the serous cavity of the abdomen is infected.

Mosquito Borne Encephalitis

The following diseases can cause encephalitis . Encephalitis is an acute inflammation of the brain, or swelling of the brain.

St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) - a viral disease caused by the mosquito-borne St. Louis Encephalitis virus named for a 1933 out break of encephalitis around St. Louis Missouri. Symptoms of the disease include fever and headache. A more severe infection presents headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, occasional convulsions and spastic paralysis.

Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) - a viral disease caused by the mosquito-borne relatively uncommon Western equine encephalitis virus. WEE is a rare infection seen in states west of the Mississippi River along with countries in South America. Symptoms are mild and generally not noticed.

LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC) - viral the mosquito borne disease first discovered in La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1963. Symptoms in milder cases include nausea, headache, vomiting. In more serious case seizures, coma, paralysis and permanent brain damage may occur.

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) - a viral infection caused by the mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis virus. Severe shivering marks the onset of this disease. Other symptoms include fever, headache and malaise. The acute encephalitic stage includes neck rigidity, weight loss, stroke-like symptoms, convulsion and high fever. Coma and death are possible outcomes.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) - a viral mosquito spread infection. Commonly called sleeping sickness, it is present in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. This disease infects horses and has a fatality rate of 70 to 90 percent.

West Nile virus (WNV) - a viral infection spread by mosquitoes similar to the Japanese encephalitis birus. A person with WNV may show no symptoms, cause a fever with flu-like symptoms, or develop into encephalitis.