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What Is the Deadliest Insect on Earth?

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Female Anopheles mosquitoes are the deadliest insects on Earth.

Female Anopheles mosquitoes are the deadliest insects on Earth.

CDC/ James Gathany

Question: What Is the deadliest insect on Earth?

Though the vast majority of insects do us no harm, and, in fact, make our lives better, a few insects exist that can kill us. Which is the deadliest insect on Earth? Killer bees? African ants? Japanese hornets? No, no, and no.

Answer:

The deadliest insect on Earth is none other than the mosquito. Mosquitoes alone can't do us much harm, but as disease carriers, these insects are downright lethal.

Infected Anopheles mosquitoes carry a parasite in the genus Plasmodium, the cause of the deadly disease malaria. The parasite reproduces within the mosquito's body. Female mosquitoes then bite humans to feed on their blood, and the parasite is transferred to the human host.

As vectors of malaria, mosquitoes indirectly cause the deaths of almost one million people each year. According to the World Heath Organization, about 243 million people suffered from the debilitating disease in 2008. Half the world's population lives at risk of contracting malaria. Every 30 seconds, a child dies of malaria.

 

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