General Health

Mosquito-Borne Diseases: Know The Difference Between Malaria, Dengue, and Chikungunya

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 18 May 2023, Updated on - 16 June 2023

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Stagnant water and heavy rainfall often serve as breeding factors for disease-causing mosquitoes. Dengue, malaria, and chikungunya are all mosquito-borne diseases that have become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Prompt treatment is crucial for these diseases, as untreated cases can lead to severe health complications and even death. This blog aims to increase awareness about the differences between these diseases since some of their symptoms overlap. Recognising these differences can help patients receive the appropriate treatment quickly, aiding in their prompt recovery and preventing any potential health complications.

What is Malaria?

It is a parasitic disease spread through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, which transmit the Plasmodium parasite to humans. Malaria is most prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical regions, where the conditions are optimal for the mosquitoes to breed and thrive. It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect you have contracted malaria, as delayed treatment can lead to serious health complications.

Symptoms of Malaria

Here are some distinct symptoms that can help you detect the disease:

Chills and high fever

Severe body fatigue

Nausea and vomiting

Muscle or joint pain

Rapid heart rate


To diagnose malaria, doctors usually prescribe a malaria parasite test. Once diagnosed, individuals are given medication to control the fever and other symptoms.

What is Dengue?

It is a viral illness that leads to symptoms similar to the flu, including high fever. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are responsible for spreading this disease. These mosquitoes can be carrying four different dengue viruses, namely DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4. It is crucial to seek medical advice from a qualified doctor to receive the appropriate treatment.

Symptoms of Dengue

To identify dengue fever, the following symptoms are often observed:

Elevated body temperature


Eye pain


Nausea and vomiting

Skin rashes

In case of a sudden increase in the severity of symptoms, it is advisable to undergo a dengue profile test.

What is Chikungunya?

It is a viral infection that is spread by Aedes mosquitoes. The name "chikungunya" is derived from a word in the Makonde language, meaning "that which bends up," as people with the disease often experience severe joint pain and stiffness. The symptoms of chikungunya typically manifest within 2 to 6 days after a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito.

Symptoms of Chikungunya

These are the symptoms to watch out for:

High fever that can last for up to two days, with a temperature of 104 °F

Viral rashes on the trunk or limbs

Joint pain affecting multiple joints, often causing people to stoop down while walking or sitting


Loss of appetite

The doctor may prescribe rt PCR chikungunya test to confirm the diagnosis.

Mosquito-borne Treatment Options

Treatment options will depend on the severity and specific symptoms of a disease:

Chikungunya: For chikungunya, rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain relievers may be recommended, with hospital care reserved for those with more severe cases.

Dengue: With hospital care for seriously ill patients, dengue may be treated with rest, fluids, and medication to reduce fever.  

Malaria: Antimalarial medication, rest, and fluids are typically recommended for treating malaria, with hospitalisation possible for severe cases.

Remember, obtaining an accurate diagnosis and prompt medical care are key to preventing further health issues and improving chances of recovery.

Prevention Tips for Dengue, Malaria and Chikungunya

It is essential to avoid mosquito bites to prevent these mosquito-borne illnesses. Consider the following prevention tips:

1. Keep Clean, Stay Healthy: Proper waste disposal and cleaning of the sewage system in your community are crucial steps to prevent mosquito breeding.

2. Don’t Keep Stagnant Water: Notably, stagnant water during the monsoon season can be a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Therefore empty the containers with stored water and remove stagnant water present in or around your house.

3. Ensure Full Clothing: Wearing full-sleeved shirts or T-shirts and pants while going outside can significantly reduce the risk of mosquito bites.

4. Apply Mosquito Repellents: Mosquito-repellent sprays, coils, electronic devices and fabric roll ons are all good options to prevent mosquito bites.

Mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria, dengue, and chikungunya have become significant global public health challenges. Despite sharing a common transmission mode through mosquito bites, these diseases have unique symptoms requiring specific treatment. Seeking prompt medical attention is essential if you suspect any of these illnesses to prevent complications and mitigate symptom severity. For more information,


Consult An Apollo Expert Doctors


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt


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