Jaws might not have had the same cultural impact if it had featured a tiny, buzzing insect in lieu of a great white shark.
But, as Bill Gates explained for last year’s World Mosquito Day, we really should be much more worried about mosquitoes than sharks.
I hate mosquitoes. The diseases they spread kill more than half a million people every year. In fact, mosquitoes kill more people in one day than sharks kill in 100 years: https://t.co/r81u9DDB2B #WorldMosquitoDay pic.twitter.com/j6DB4yZ4m9
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) August 20, 2018
Mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue, and Zika, make them one of the deadliest animals in the world, responsible for millions of deaths.
Indeed, as the below chart shows, mosquitoes kill more people every day than sharks have in an entire century.
A report released earlier this year also suggests that climate change is only going to make the problem worse. The range of two key disease-spreading species – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus – is set to expand significantly by the middle of this century.
“If no action is taken to reduce the current rate at which the climate is warming, pockets of habitat will open up across many urban areas with vast amounts of individuals susceptible to infection,” explained Moritz Kraemer, co-author of the report and an infectious disease scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital and the University of Oxford.
World Mosquito Day is held on 20 August every year – the anniversary of Sir Ronald Ross’s discovery that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on the disease.
This article was originally published in the World Economic Forum.