WILLS POINT, USA (ANS) — Mosquito bites will result in more than 700,000 deaths around the world this year — wiping out the equivalent of the entire population of Washington, D.C., says a new report for World Mosquito Day, August 20.
Malaria is the most common mosquito-borne disease, claiming more than 400,000 lives worldwide every year — mostly children under five, says the just-released report by mission agency Gospel for Asia (GFA World, www.gfa.org).
The report — Winning the Ancient Conflict Between Man and Mosquito — reveals the lethal impact of mosquitoes across Asia, where the aerial menace also spreads other diseases, such as dengue, yellow fever, Zika, West Nile virus, and Japanese encephalitis.
“Without proper prevention or treatment, the consequences of a simple mosquito bite are very serious in many places around the world,” said GFA World founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan, whose Texas-based organization is on the ground across Asia in thousands of cities and villages. “Unfortunately, it’s a war that needs to be won and won and won — it rages on every day in places like Asia.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) says mosquitoes actually could be responsible for “several million deaths” every year. World Mosquito Day, observed annually on Aug. 20, commemorates the breakthrough discovery in 1897 that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between people. So far, there’s no vaccine for malaria.
More than half the world’s population is at risk of contracting dengue — a raging fever that claims 40,000 lives every year.
Annoying Bite Could Be Deadly
“For most of us in the West, a mosquito bite is an itchy annoyance,” Yohannan said, “but for hundreds of thousands across Asia, it’s deadly.”
Millions across the region can’t afford vaccines against mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus if available — or even basic preventive measures, such as insect repellent or window screens.
Every year, GFA World and other organizations distribute thousands of free mosquito-repelling bed nets to impoverished families, students in hostels, and agricultural workers in endemic areas who are among the most at-risk of getting bitten at night.
So far, GFA World has distributed more than 1.3 million nets across Asia, costing around $10 a piece. Nets are the most effective way to prevent potentially deadly bites when mosquitoes are most active at dusk and daybreak.
“Our response is driven by the love of God,” said Yohannan, author of the new book Never Give Up. “Mosquito reduction efforts by organizations such as GFA World are one of the evidences that fulfill Christ’s imperative to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’.”