Smarter Decisions,
Better Care

UpToDate synthesizes the most recent medical information into evidence-based practical recommendations clinicians trust to make the right point-of-care decisions.

  • Rigorous editorial process: Evidence-based treatment recommendations
  • World-Renowned physician authors: over 5,100 physician authors and editors around the globe
  • Innovative technology: integrates into the workflow; access from EMRs

Choose from the list below to learn more about subscriptions for a:


Subscribers log in here


Mosquito vectors of infectious diseases

INTRODUCTION

Mosquitoes are insect vectors responsible for the transmission of parasitic and viral infections to millions of people worldwide, with substantial morbidity and mortality. Infections transmitted by mosquitoes include malaria, yellow fever, chikungunya, and other arboviruses. An understanding of mosquito classification, distinguishing features, and the insect lifecycle is important for disease surveillance as well as for designing and implementing effective measures for disease control and prevention. (See "Arthropod-borne encephalitides".)

Issues related to the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and management of the infections transmitted by mosquitoes are discussed separately. (See related topics.)

CLASSIFICATION

Mosquitoes belong to the class Insecta, order Diptera, and family Culicidae. The two subfamilies are Anophelinae (which includes the genus Anopheles, the mosquito vector for malaria) and Culicinae (which includes the genera Aedes [Stegomyia], Culex, Mansonia, and Haemagogus, the mosquito vectors for arboviruses and some filariases) (table 1) [1]. Each subfamily has hundreds of species within it, although only a few dozen bite humans and therefore are capable of serving as disease vectors.

Planning disease surveillance and control measures requires identification of the mosquito genus or genera in a particular geographic region based upon the distinguishing features of each lifecycle stage. The following discussion highlights the characteristic features of the mosquito subfamilies Anophelinae and Culicinae to facilitate identification of Anopheline malaria vectors from other types of mosquitoes. Techniques for distinguishing the Culicinae genera are beyond the scope of this discussion and require more detailed entomological expertise.

LIFECYCLE

The mosquito progresses through four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult [2]. The full lifecycle usually takes about 14 days, but the duration varies with temperature and species. Outside of tropical climates, most mosquito species overwinter as eggs, although some overwinter as larvae or adults.

      

Subscribers log in here

To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information or to purchase a personal subscription, click below on the option that best describes you:
Literature review current through: Sep 2014. | This topic last updated: Sep 16, 2014.
The content on the UpToDate website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. The use of this website is governed by the UpToDate Terms of Use ©2014 UpToDate, Inc.