Australia’s Biggest Baddest Thing

In England, it was called a plain and simple gnat. Every now and then, you’d get a gnat bite. DANG!

But in hotter countries, where the tabloid press does not lead with the headline “Phew, What a Scorcher!” as soon as the temperature hits 80°F, they become MOSQUITOES.

Forget spiders, crocodiles, alligators, lions, kangaroos breaking into houses in Canberra, stampeding elephants, sharks and you can even forget the scary, slippery snakes we have mention so often.

A Mozzie

A Mozzie

The creature responsible for the most human deaths on the planet, by a distance, is the mosquito. It is estimated that the mosquito kills anything between 1 million and 5 million people a year as they spread diseases including malaria and dengue fever. Something like 300 million people are affected by these diseases worldwide.

The bad news about mosquitoes in Australia.

  • They spread dengue fever.
  • There is no vaccine.
  • Dengue-related deaths are rare in Australia with just 3 recorded in the 100 years up to 2010.
  • Northern Australia is affected more than the south.

Mosquitoes also spread:

  • Ross River virus;
  • Barmah Forest virus;
  • Murray Valley encephalitis;
  • Japanese encephalitis.

The good news about mosquitoes in Australia.

  • Australia is declared malaria free, so they can’t spread that.

As I understand it, and I’m not an insectomologist, for dengue fever to break out, someone has to visit this country with it, get bitten by a mosquito and that mosquito could then pass it on. Sounds like a long shot, but it does seem to happen about every five years.

Despite there being no vaccine, treatment and more importantly, prevention procedures seem to have improved, which is why we see so few deaths. On the other hand, it is a virus, one bad outbreak could see the figures increased.

Unfortunately, a current outbreak in northern Queensland has already claimed, I think, one life this year and has affected just over a thousand people. These are the first deaths since 2004 and it’s the worst outbreak for 50 years.

So, the Australian mosquito is a very bad Australian thing indeed. It’s a very bad worldwide thing. Of course, mosquitoes have invaded my home on many occasions and I have been bitten probably a hundred times or more. Yet my wife and daughter have never been bitten, they either like you or they don’t.

Mosquitos aren’t big, but for me they are Australia’s biggest baddest thing, I hate them. Yes, way more than snakes. If I could rid this country and the world of one creature it would be the mosquito. No contest.

But statistically, it is extremely rare to be bitten by one in Australia that is carrying any of the above mentioned disease. But, of course, prevention is the key. There is no point in taking chances. I will talk about prevention and the pain in a future post. Don’t worry, there are several things you can do to prevent mosquitoes from cheesing you off.

Next week, the mozzies irritating little brother.

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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Betty October 28, 2014, 3:58 pm |

    My son and family (3 girls all under 6) are moving to Brisbane in a couple of months. They have found a lovely house to rent until their stuff arrives and they can buy a house in an area they like. My concern is that this house is the traditional Queenslander and seems to have no fly screens on the windows or doors. How do people cope with the winged warriors (mozzies etc) without the screens?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for a wonderfully informative site Bob.

  • djmcbell July 2, 2014, 1:05 am |

    Hold on a minute…


    Dear Lord, now I’ve got horses AND mosquitoes to worry about. I need to cancel my tickets…

    • BobinOz July 3, 2014, 1:40 pm |

      …or buy mozzie repellent 🙂

      • Hilary July 3, 2014, 9:21 pm |

        Fear not, djmcbell, the trusty Huntsman will keep the mozzies at bay. But then there are the horses. Just make sure you always have a large bag of sugar lumps about your person and you should survive. In theory!

  • Brandon Rose July 1, 2014, 1:40 pm |

    So you say, “I have been bitten probably a hundred times or more.” That’s all?? Here in northern Minnesota, U.S., that’s what we can get in 2 DAYS during the summer. Wouldn’t be a problem for us!! 🙂

    Then again, we don’t get Dengue fever…

    • BobinOz July 1, 2014, 9:04 pm |

      I wasn’t trying to start a competition 🙂

  • Matt September 13, 2011, 4:54 pm |

    “developed” world is what I meant not developing world

    • BobinOz September 14, 2011, 6:51 pm |

      Thanks for the clarification.

      • Dillon Baldwin October 2, 2013, 7:23 am |

        In wisconsin during the summer you will become a food magnet fast. LOve your articles k bye 😀

        • BobinOz October 2, 2013, 2:36 pm |

          Maybe I will avoid Wisconsin then 🙂 cheers K!

  • Matt September 13, 2011, 4:54 pm |

    Oh and whats good bob…..Having fun in OZ?

  • Matt September 13, 2011, 4:53 pm |

    Mosquitoes are for the most part just a nuisance in Australia/North America/Europe who only transmit disease on a very rare occasions……Whole different ballgame in Asia, South America and especially Africa where they are an absolute menace….Anyone who is from Australia/North America/Europe has no right to complain until you go to Africa and see how deadly they are their…

    Like I said don’t complain about mosquitoes if you are from the developing world

    • BobinOz September 14, 2011, 6:50 pm |

      Thank you for the lecture. Anything else we have no right to complain about here Matt?

      Not sure if you are aware, but this blog is about life in Australia, not the problems of the world. Although I did declare my hatred of mosquitoes and mention the number of deaths this beast causes worldwide, as well as describing it as far worse than any killer creature Australia is home to. So I don’t know why you’re choosing to have a dip at me.

      I suggest you take your soapbox elsewhere.

  • BobinOz September 3, 2009, 9:09 pm |

    I got bit to pieces last year, so many times that I started searching online for solutions. A few people suggested taking vitamin B tablets, which I did. At first it didn’t work but now, a few months down the line, I never seem to get bitten. Maybe it’s a fluke or maybe when summer kicks in I’ll get chewed again. We will see.
    But if I do start getting bitten again, I will see you down the mosquito trap shop bbibi

  • bbibi September 3, 2009, 4:27 am |

    I watched the youtube video on mosquito attractant mma, and if this stuff is really as it seems, I am going to put some mosquito traps in my backyard.

  • Carolyn July 30, 2009, 4:36 pm |

    Ouch… i hate Mozzies!
    Living in SA… we are all too familiar with them. 😉

    • BobinOz July 30, 2009, 6:09 pm |

      That’s fun.

    • sriyani August 31, 2016, 9:03 pm |

      What is your county

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