The best way to avoid infection from mosquito bites is to flick not squash

An article published in this month's New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the best way to avoid infection from mosquito bites is to actually flick them away rather than squashing them into the skin.

The findings are based on a 57-year-old woman from Pennsylvania who died in 2002 from a fungal infection in her muscles called Brachiola algerae.

Doctors treating the woman were confused because Brachiola algerae is not found in mosquito saliva like West Nile virus and malaria, so her infection could not have been caused by a mosquito bite.

The authors concluded that the woman must have smashed a mosquito on her skin, smearing its body parts into the bite.

"I think if a mosquito was in mid-bite, it would be wiser to flick the mosquito off rather than squashing it," said one of the authors, Christina Coyle of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Mosquitoes are well known to be capable of transmitting protozoan diseases such as malaria, filarial diseases like filariasis, and viral diseases such as yellow fever, dengue, encephalitis, and West Nile virus. West Nile Virus was accidentally introduced into the United States in 1999 and by 2003 had spread to almost every state.

Mosquitos weigh only about 2 to 2.5 mg. They can fly at about 1.5 to 2.5 km/h.

Mosquito repellents generally contain one of the following active ingredients: DEET, Catnip oil extract - Nepetalactone, Citronella or eucalyptus oil extract.

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