Are There Mosquitoes in Brazil?
Most species of mosquitoes are harmless to humans as they’re not vectors for pathogens, but some species can spread serious diseases. Before traveling to Brazil, it’s important to know which are mosquito-borne diseases present in the country and how to avoid them.
There are a total of 6 species of mosquitoes that most transmit diseases in Brazil. The most dangerous species to humans are the Aedes aegypti, responsible for spreading diseases like Dengue and Zika, and the Anopheles, vector of the protozoan Plasmodium, which causes Malaria.
This information can be concerning for some people, but it’s important to notice that most of the cases of Malaria in Brazil are in the region of the Amazon rainforest, and the Brazilian cases represent only 0.1% of the worldwide cases per year.
Through this article, you’ll learn more about the mosquito-borne diseases in Brazil, in which regions of the country each disease is more common, and how to prevent and get appropriate treatment in case of an infection.
Does Brazil have Mosquitoes?
There are more than 3500 species of mosquitoes all around the world. They are common flying insects and the word “mosquito” is the name in Portuguese and Spanish for “little fly”.
In Brazil, there are 6 species of mosquitoes that are vectors for pathogens that causes diseases.
The 2 most dangerous species of mosquitoes in Brazil are the Aedes aegypti, an urban mosquito that transmits Dengue, Chikungunya virus and the Zika virus. Also, the species named Anopheles, a well-known vector of the Plasmodium, the protozoan that causes Malaria.
Even though these species are present in Brazil is important to notice that the country is safe to visit. Malaria cases are very rare and they’re concentrated in the region of the Amazon rainforest. Dengue is more common as its vector is an urban mosquito, but there are good protocols and free treatment in case of an infection. Also, the death rate of Dengue in Brazil is very low: 0,06%.
Mosquito-borne Diseases in Brazil
Malaria in Brazil is considered rare, as most parts of cases are concentrated in the areas covered by the Amazon rainforest. Also, the country cases represent only 0.1% of the world’s registered infections per year. If you’re visiting the Amazon region then is very important to use repellents and preferably wear clothes that protect your legs and arms.
Cases of Dengue are common in Brazil because the mosquito that is a vector for this disease has urban habits and can be found all over the country. Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease and the symptoms may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash.
Even so, there are well-known medicines and protocols in the country to treat both Malaria and Dengue. The death rates for both diseases in the country are very low, less than 0,1%.
Other mosquito-borne diseases that are present in Brazil are Zika virus, Chikungunya virus, Leishmaniose, Elephantiasis, and Wet Nile Fever. Despite some of those are common in the Northern region, cases of these in Brazil diseases are considered very rare.
6 Mosquitoes That Transmit Diseases in Brazil
The Anopheles mosquito transmits Malaria when they are infected through a previous blood meal taken from an infected person. This species is a vector for the Plasmodium pathogen, the cause of Malaria. In Brazil, it’s present in the Northern region, especially in the areas covered by the Amazon rainforest.
A curious fact about Malaria casualties in Brazil is that the lethality in regions outside of Amazon is 123 times higher than in the Amazon region. According to the study provided by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, this is due to the delay in suspected malaria in states that are not endemic, leading to the worsening of the patient’s general condition and consequently increasing the risk of death.
Phlebotomine sand flies are the main vector for Leishmania spp., the etiologic agent of Leishmaniasis. The Phlebotomine bites animals like dogs and horses infected with the protozoan Leishmania, responsible for the disease, and then bites the person, transmitting the disease.
It has nocturnal habits and when they land, they keep their wings open. This species can be found in the entire Brazilian territory, especially in big cities. Even so, casualties and cases of Leishmaniasis are still considered rare.
The most feared mosquito in Brazil for having urban habits and that transmits several diseases, including Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya. Because of that, this is the species that is responsible for the most cases of mosquito-borne diseases in Brazil, especially in the summer, when their proliferation is greater and more accelerated.
Preferably diurnal habits, they can also bite at night in the presence of light. The female must be infected to transmit the viruses, but her presence in an environment is always a cause for concern.
The Aedes albopictus mosquito transmits serious diseases such as Dengue and the Yellow Fever. This mosquito is the “cousin” of Aedes aegypti and is found predominantly in wild and rural areas, which is why it bites infected animals and becomes a vector of pathogens.
However, it can reach nearby cities, dispersing diseases when infected.
The Culex quinquefasctiatus are known by their popular names of “muriçoca” or just “mosquito”. With night-time habits, this species are the most common mosquitoes in Brazilian homes, bothering us with their characteristic tinnitus.
This mosquito can be found in the entire extension of the country and can transmit Elephantiasis (Wuchereria bancrofti) and Nile Fever (arbovirus Flavivirus). Also, the Fiocruz Foundation published a research confirming that the Culex has the potential to be a Zika virus transmitter.
Haemagogus e Sabethes
These two species transmits Yellow Fever. They are one of the main transmitters of the disease in Brazil. Commonly found inhabiting wild areas, especially in the treetops.
This habit is one of the main reasons for them to be a vector of the Yellow Fever pathogen, as they bite infected monkeys in treetops and spread the virus to humans.
|Scientific Name||Popular Name||Possible Diseases||Where It’s Found|
|Anopheles||Marsh Mosquitoes, “Mosquito-Prego”||Malaria||All country, but especially in the Northern Region.|
|Phlebotominae||Sand Flies, “Mosquito-Palha”||Leishmaniasis||All country, especially in urban areas.|
|Aedes aegypti||Yellow Fever Mosquito, “Aedes”||Dengue, Zika Virus, Chikungunya||Urban areas all over Brazil, especially in the summer.|
|Aedes albopictus||Tiger Mosquito, Forest Mosquito||Dengue and Yellow Fever||Predominantly in wild and rural areas.|
|Culex quinquefasciatus||Southern House Mosquito, “Muriçoca”||Elephantiasis, Nile Fever and possibly Zika Virus||All over Brazil. This species has night habits.|
|Haemagogus e Sabethes||–||Yellow Fever||All country, but especially in the Northern Region.|
This kind of information is important to highlight to travelers that Brazil is a safe place to visit and that there is a free treatment for mosquito-borne diseases over here.
So you can rest assured that while traveling to Brazil a case of mosquito-borne disease is very rare and that in an unfortunate case of infection you’ll have appropriate treatment.
If you have any other doubt about this subject, feel free to leave a comment down here. I’ll love to read and reply 🙂
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I see you next time.