The New York Times recently published an interesting article about how mosquitoes have affected human history. In “The Mosquitoes Are Coming for Us”, Timothy C. Winegard offers a sweeping review of mosquitoes’ deep impact on humans. Mosquitoes facilitated the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and even contributed to increasing slavery in America, as plantation owners believed Africans were more resistant to vector-borne diseases than native Americans. Mosquitoes have been more lethal than any manufactured weapons or inventions. Malaria, for instance, may have killed half of all the people that have ever lived (read John Whitfield “Portrait of a Serial Killer” in Nature)
As Winegard points out, mosquitoes (“Our apex predator, the deadliest hunters of human beings on the planet”) today still impact our lives significantly, despite decades of efforts to control vector-borne diseases. Approximately 700,000 people still die per year from vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, Zika, West Nile, dengue and yellow fever; millions more suffer from these diseases, affecting their health, lives and incomes.
Read the full article at The New York Times.