Vectors and Vectors Area Map


We call “vector” a mechanism – usually an organism – which transmits an infectious agent from one affected host to a healthy other.

Common Mosquito, Asian-Tiger Mosquito, Dengue Mosquito and six-legged insects such as flies, bedbugs, fleas or head lice can be vectors; but the list also includes eight-legged animals such as ticks and mites.

Despite being only a few inches long, Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest species for humans. You can spot them everywhere across the world, except in the poles; they can “smell” human blood from a distance of up to 30 miles away, and every year the organisms transmitted by their bites are responsible for more than 200 million of new infections.

Estimations say that each year in the world, more than 1 million people die from malaria. From the beginning of times, mankind has always been affected, directly or indirectly, by insects, which have been evolving alongside humans, becoming strong competitors and testing our survival skills.

Insects have great adaptability skills, a capacity to reproduce quickly and in a very short time as well as a large power of dispersion; all these factors help them develop huge populations which affect human health.

With the increase of trade and tourist flows and the rapidity of modern transportation, there are a lot more of chances for insects to pour into those areas where they can breed and convert into plagues.

The frequency of these diseases seems to be increasing, which can be explained by a lots of reasons: people are developing antimalarial drug resistance; mosquitoes are developing insecticide resistance; climate changes are creating new breeding sites. On another hand, migrations, climate change and rise of new habitats make that less and less people develop natural immunity to the diseases they transmit.

We now have the possibility to use products such as STINGbye anti-vector T-shirts, in order to chase the vectors away of our environment.

Most of the vectors are hematophagous insects, meaning that they feed on blood. Among them, the most commonly known are mosquitoes. In the case of mosquito, only female are hematophagous, as they need blood to get proteins and lay eggs; then, the easiest way of transmission is through direct contact with blood circulation. As male do not lay eggs, they do not need blood, hence they don’t bite.

You also have dermatophagoides like mites, which feed on dead human skin cells; as well as another group of insects, the ectoparasites, that live in the external part of our body, just like: fleas, head lice, bedbugs, etc.

Some vector-borne diseases are water-borne, and can be transmitted by vectors such as mosquitoes, that breed and live close to contaminated and not contaminated waters. Millions of people suffer from these vector-borne diseases like malaria, yellow fever, dengue, filiarasis, etc. Eradication efforts are actually being concentrated on those vectors of infectious diseases. The main and most common diseases they can transmit are:

Yellow fever/Dengue, transmitted by Stegomyia aegypti mosquito.
Malaria, transmitted by Anopheles mosquito.
Sleeping sickness, or African trypanosomiasis, transmitted by Tsetse fly.
Chagas disease, transmitted by bedbugs.
Lyme disease, transmitted by mites.
Typhus, transmitted by head lice, fleas, and ticks.
Sarcoptic mange or scabies, skin diseases transmitted by the Sarcoptes scabei parasitic mite.
Leishmaniosis (Kala Azar), transmitted by dipterian from the Phlebotomidae family.
Filariasis and elephantiasis, transmitted by AnophelesCulexStegomyia, and Mansonia mosquitoes.
And much more.

As we see, number of potential diseases is quite overwhelming, that is why we have to try protect ourselves against them. STINGbye anti-vector T-shirts can help us.


Culicidae, also known as Common Mosquito. This is a flying insect with slender body, large and thin legs; adults can be up to 0.5 inch-long, and it is important to know that larvae always breed in water, that is why whenever there is any epidemic of any mosquito-borne disease, people are being asked to get rid of anything that contains water, as it enhances their reproduction process.

Female are hematophagous; they feed on other animals’ blood, therefore are recurrent vectors of infectious diseases. Most of Culicidae females have mouthparts constructed as a large proboscis so that they pierce mammals’ skin, literally sucking the blood out. Females require the nutrition of blood to start their gonotrophic cycle, and be able to lay eggs. They would need a blood meal before they could lay viable eggs. As for other insects, mosquito life cycle goes through four distinct stages: Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult. Its rate of growth varies between species and according to temperature.

Culicidae larvae can breed in any stretch of water being set stagnant for one week at least, from Ecuador to the Arctic Polar Circle. They do not need huge amount of water; most of the times, few inches are sufficient for them to complete their larval stage.

Most of the efforts to eradicate mosquitoes are focused on exterminating such vectors, fighting against them in both their larval and adult stages. That is why we dry out flooded areas or treat breeding sites, and other potential resting areas, including houses with insecticides. Historically, such actions caused, very often, environmental side effects of a greater or lesser magnitude. Before the appearance of insecticides, we were likely to use biological weapons such as predatory fishes, bats and also dragonflies.

Today, most of developed countries put their efforts on integrated control, especially larvae control, using toxic bacteria against mosquitoes such as Bacillus thuringiensis.

Culex pipiens can carry West Nile virus, currently emerging in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Virus natural reservoir, as in many other cases, can be found in birds.

Most of mosquitoes in Spain live between urban areas and natural environment. The most common one in natural environment is “Ochlerotatus”, whereas in urban areas, this is the common mosquito or “Culex pipiens”; the first ones bite during the day and through clothes, the second ones at dusk and dawn.

The most vulnerable groups of population are senior adults, from 60 years old, and babies under 2. Complications can be: encephalitis (acute infection and inflammation of the brain), meningitis (acute inflammation of the meninges, protective membranes covering the brain), or meningoencephalitis (combination of both).


Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti mosquito, is the primary vector of dengue, yellow fever and other diseases. It belongs to Stegomyia subgenus within Aedes genus, and Culicidae family.

Anopheles lives in almost every part of the world, including Europe, Africa, Asia,

America and Oceania, and especially in mild, tropical and subtropical zones. We count approximately 400 different species of Anopheles, among which 30 or 40 transmitting 4 different types of dangerous Plasmodium falciparum (Malaria) parasites. One of the most common species in Europe is Anopheles atroparvus.

As every mosquitoes, Anopheles go through four separate and distinct stages of its life cycle: Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult. At adult stage, female are vectors of malaria.

A female adult can live up to one month (some more in captivity), usually 2 weeks. The time between egg-laying and adult stage vary on species and according to the temperature in the environment. In natural conditions, the process takes between 10 to 14 days, but it can sometimes only last 5 days.

Female not only need sugars but also proteins for the development of the eggs: blood.

After a blood meal, the female rests for a few days while the blood is digested and eggs develop with the extracted nutrients. In 2-3 days, eggs are developed enough to be laid. After egg-laying, the cycle starts again until the female dies, within 7-14 days (or more, in captivity).

There are currently no efficient anti-viral treatments against yellow fever, nor vaccines for dengue or malaria. In Africa, malaria is transmitted by Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus, human being their primary source of nutrition. Most of them are crepuscular or nocturnal. Even though that fact is not very well-known, Europe suffered from malaria transmission until the middle of the XXth century; In Spain, Malaria has not been declared officially eradicated before 1964. However, indiscriminate and unjustified use of insecticides created in many cases insecticide resistance.

Dengue: also called break-bone fever, it is spread by Aedes species, from mosquito to human and human to mosquito. In some countries, the dengue has developed into a new and serious form called Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. This mosquito can be found everywhere, it is recommended to eliminate stagnant waters.

Yellow fever: It is spread by Aedes aegypti mosquito and other Aedes species. Contagion occurs from human to mosquito and mosquito to human. It can be found in most of warmer cities in the world. Remedies: vaccination, elimination of breeding sites, repellents and mosquito nets.

Filariasis: It can cause elephantitis. Principally spread by culex pipiens, anopheles, and aedes mosquitoes, from human to mosquito and mosquito to human. Present in every part of the world.

Malaria: Transmitted by anopheles, from human to mosquito and mosquito to human. It can be found in warm areas of the world, even though it has been eradicated in some of them. Prevention of malaria includes elimination of stagnant waters, as well as use of repellents and mosquito nets. Different species of Anopheles genus are vectors of human malaria.

With more than 200 million of cases every year, Malaria is the deadliest infectious disease in the world, the one that causes most morbidity and one of the most-influential factors on the economy of affected countries, especially in Africa.

Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus probably are the deadliest animal species for humans, due to the transmission of this lethal disease. We all are aware of the health risks that accompany vectors bites (mosquitos, bedbugs, head lice, ticks, etc.).

That is why STINGbye has committed itself to conduct various studies in order to design a piece of clothes that would be able to protect us efficiently from bug bites.

We can prevent an infinite quantity of diseases; from minor discomforts caused by common mosquito bites (even though they seem benign, they can cause allergic reactions to some people), to fatal consequences.

It is characterized by a black and white striped body, black and white striped legs and a very recognizable lengthwise white line in thorax and head.

Just like other mosquito species, females have a long thin snout called proboscis they use to pierce the skin and suck the blood out of vertebrates, especially mammals and birds. This mosquito uses this blood as protein to develop their eggs. It uses small receptors located next to the proboscis to detect carbon dioxide (CO2) from potential animals or human hosts. When it bites, it uses an anticoagulant substance to extract and stock their hosts’ blood.

Larvae breed in recipients containing small quantities of water, especially in shadowed areas, such as jars, buckets, vases, flower pots and other objects that can contain water in gardens, patios or vacant lots. In natural environments, water-filled tree holes are their perfect breeding sites. In our environment, it is a mainly-urban mosquito systematically looking for man-created water points to breed. Its bite, even when done through the clothes, is quite annoying and happens in day time when most of the other species do not bite.

It is included in the TOP 100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Asian-Tiger Mosquito, invasive species, is native from South East Asia; it has spread along Africa, America and Europe since 1979, and later across Pacific. It first arrived to the US in 1985, and to Brazil around 1986. Later, it invaded Mexico where it has been spotted in 1988. The invasion route includes Central America: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama; and in Caribbean Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. In South America, it has spread along 20 out of 27 Brazilian states, hosting 2 genotypes. It is also present in Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela.

In Europe, until 2006, it had been identified in Albania, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, Montenegro, Holland and Greece. In Catalonia (Spain), its presence has been notified by the Mosquito Control Department of del Consell Comarcal del Baix Llobregat in Summer 2004, in the small city of San Cugat del Vallés and surrounding villages of the area. However, there is no record of any disease transmission in this area.

In endemic areas, the Asian-Tiger Mosquito is vector in the transmission of diseases such as dengue (in Central and South America, and Pacific), yellow fever and West Nile virus, although, for the latest, with less frequency than the Culex pipiens.

During summer 2007, there was an endemic outbreak of chikungunya fever in Ravenna, Italy, produced by CHIKV virus, spread by Asian-Tiger mosquito bite; until then, the disease had only affected tropics, sounding alarm bells with regards to the globalization of such infections. In 2014, a new Chikungunya epidemic bursts, causing deaths in America.

The two most affected countries were Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

During summer 2010, Asian-Tiger mosquitoes in the North of Greece have been found to be infected with West-Nile virus, which caused the deaths of some of the persons that had been bitten.

Cimex lectularius
, commonly known as bedbug, is a hemipterous insect from Cimicidae family. It is a hematophagous, meaning it feeds on human and other animals’ fresh blood. It generally lives in mattresses, sofas and other furniture.

Although there are not exclusively-nocturnal bugs, they are mainly active during the night. Bedbugs are attracted to us by both our warmth and the presence of the CO2 (carbon dioxide) in our breath.

The first symptom that you might feel is an itching sensation at the site of bite, which corresponds to your skin reaction to the anesthetic agents contained in bed bug’s saliva. Bites are likely to concentrate in rows or groups, and can be found anywhere in human body. They look like small flat or raised areas on the skin, sometimes they come with an intense itching.

Bedbug bites can be very similar to mosquitoes’, although bedbug bites effects tend to remain longer. Bites can sometimes take several days to become visible and symptoms can take up to 9 days to show up. In some exceptional cases, people might develop allergic responses to the bite and feel sick and nauseous. In most cases, people who have been bitten experience distress, discomfort, and unsettled sleep.

Most of the patients whose bites are treated with corticosteroids to reduce itching and burning are not showing any significant improvement. In some cases, antihistamines drugs reduce the itching, but it does not change the look and duration of lesions.

Topical corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone cream seem to reduce lesions and itching.

Multiple laboratory tests have led to the conclusion that bedbugs are not known to transmit any pathogens from one person to another, as disease vectors. Therefore, they seem to be less dangerous than other common species such as fleas.

However, under certain conditions, bedbugs could pose a risk for vector-borne transmission of Chagas and Hepatitis-B diseases. Very rarely, people might have an anaphylactic reaction to bedbug bites. People with multiple bedbug bites might also develop anemia.


The human louse (Pediculus humanus) is a species of phftirapter insect, belonging to the family Pediculidae, without wings, that includes about 3,250 species. Their eggs are called nits, and lice attach them to the hair or feathers of their host. The lice parasites the man and especially children and adolescents.

Its infestation provokes pediculosis, and it is considered the transmitter of typhus, trench fever by Rickettsias and recurrent fevers by Borrelias.

Lice have parasitized humans since ancient times around the world. They pose a great problem that is always active, and which grows and spreads with unusual speed whenever there are natural disasters, wars, miseries or famines.

The distribution of pediculosis is cosmopolitan. Lack of hygiene, promiscuity, overcrowding and migration facilitate their development. It usually appears in small family epidemics and its spread has shown a significant increase during the last decade. This affects all races and especially women and it is predominant among schoolchildren.

In recent years, pediculosis has become a phenomenon so frequent that it hardly calls attention, going from being a disease that people concealed to becoming an almost habitual fact in the life of the child in school.

But seeing things this way can have diverse consequences for children, from affecting their school performance to producing serious damages in the organism.


Siphonaptera is an order of small wingless neopteran insects, popularly known as fleas. Fleas are external parasites that live off the blood of mammals. There are about 1,900 known species.

Fleas are small insects whose length ranges from 1.5 to 3.3 mm long, very agile and generally dark in color; they have a buccal tube mechanism specially adapted to be able to feed on the blood of their hosts.

They have their body compressed laterally, allowing them to move easily through the hairs or feathers of the host. They have long legs, and the hind legs are adapted for the jump, which can reach up to 18 cm in the vertical direction and 33 cm in the horizontal direction. This means a distance of up to 200 times its own length, which makes the fleas the best jumpers among animals in relation to their body size. The hardness of their body allows them to withstand great pressures, such as scratching, even when exerted by human fingers.

Fleas are holometábolos insects, that is to say, they have complete metamorphosis, egg, larva, chrysalis, and adult. The metamorphosis period varies from two weeks to eight months depending on temperature, humidity, food and the specific type of species. Normally, after feeding on blood, the female deposits between 15 and 20 eggs per day to a total of 600 throughout its life, usually on the host which includes dogs, cats, rats, rabbits, mice, squirrels, chickens, humans, etc. Eggs are deposited loosely in the fur or the hair and most of them fall everywhere, especially where the host rests, sleeps or nests (carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, dog and cat boxes, kennels, litter boxes, etc.)

In about five to fourteen days, adult fleas emerge or remain at rest in the cocoon until they detect the movement of people or pets, pressure, heat, moisture or carbon dioxide meaning that they have a blood source nearby.

Generally, fleas are only a nuisance to their hosts, but some people and animals suffer an allergic reaction to its saliva, producing rashes. Flea bites generally result in the formation of inflamed and slightly elevated areas that produce itch and have a single pitting point in the center.

However, several species of fleas can transmit diseases such as typhus and the devastating bubonic plague, transmitted between rodents and humans by the sewer rat and the black rat. They also transmit tapeworms, such as Dipylidium caninum, which parasites man.

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