The world’s deadliest animal isn’t a shark, tiger or even a poisonous snake. It’s the female mosquito.
When this pesky insect sucks your blood to help her lay her eggs, she can infect you with potentially fatal diseases including malaria, dengue, Zika and West Nile viruses, lymphatic filariasis (LF) and more.
More than one million people are thought to be killed by mosquitoes every year, according to the American Mosquito Control Association.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that currently half the global population is at risk of malaria and 40 percent are at risk of dengue. LF affects people in 72 countries and is a leading cause of permanent disability worldwide.
West Nile virus is the main mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States, peaking in the summer and early fall months.
Earlier this year, medical journal The Lancet published a study that shows that as the world warms with climate change, the length of mosquito season and the geographic spread of mosquito-borne diseases is expanding and diseases are emerging in new locations, or re-emerging in areas where they had been eradicated.
The study found that by 2070, the population at risk of malaria and dengue fever was likely to increase by up to 4.7 billion people.