The key difference between Malaria and West Nile virus is that Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease caused by Plasmodium parasites while West Nile virus is a single-stranded RNA virus which causes West Nile fever.
Many infectious diseases are transmitted by insect vectors such as mosquitoes, lice, fleas, etc. Malaria and West Nile fever are two diseases transmitted by mosquitoes to human. When a mosquito bites a human, infectious agents enter the human’s body and cause the disease. Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite, while West Nile fever is a disease caused by a virus. Both diseases are life threatening since there are no vaccines for them.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Malaria
3. What is West Nile Virus
4. Similarities Between Malaria and West Nile Virus
5. Side by Side Comparison – Malaria vs West Nile Virus in Tabular Form
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease. It is an infectious disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium. There are five parasite species. Among them, P. falciparum and P. vivax pose the greatest threat. The female Anopheles mosquitoes are the insect vectors of this disease. When an infected female Anopheles mosquito bites a human, the parasite enters the human body. Malaria is a life threatening disease. The most susceptible group is children aged below five years. The first symptoms of Malaria are fever, headache, and chills. But, Malaria can become severe and causes death due to conditions such as severe anaemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria and multi-organ failure.
Transmission of Malaria takes place through the bites of female Anopheles mosquitoes. There are several factors affecting the transmission: the parasite, the vector, the human host, and the environment.
What is West Nile Virus?
West Nile virus is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes a mosquito-borne disease called West Nile fever. The infection of the West Nile virus spreads among humans from an infected mosquito. The principal vectors of the West Nile virus are the mosquitoes of the genus Culex. Mosquitoes get the virus from infected birds since birds are the natural hosts of West Nile virus. In addition to humans, horses and other mammals can also be infected by this virus.
West Nile fever often causes mild symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands. But when the virus enters the human brain, it can be life threatening due to the inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Moreover, it can cause the inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord, called meningitis. People can prevent this disease by using mosquito repellents or wearing clothes that cover the skin.
What are the Similarities Between Malaria and West Nile Virus?
- Malaria and West Nile virus are two mosquito-borne diseases.
- West Nile Virus and Malaria are transmitted through the mosquitoes bite.
- Both diseases are potentially life-threatening.
- Human is a host for both infectious agents.
What is the Difference Between Malaria and West Nile Virus?
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium. On the other hand, west Nile virus is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes West Nile fever. So, this is the key difference between Malaria and West Nile virus. Female Anopheles mosquitoes transmit Malaria to humans while mosquitoes of the genus Culex transmit the West Nile virus.
Moreover, the symptoms of Malaria are evident immediately, while the symptoms of the West Nile virus do not always immediately become evident.
Below infographic shows more comparisons related to the difference between Malaria and West Nile virus.
Summary – Malaria vs West Nile Virus
Malaria and West Nile fever are two mosquito-borne diseases. Both types of diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes to human. Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium while West Nile virus is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes West Nile fever. Female Anophyles mosquito is the insect vector of Malaria while Culex mosquitoes are the insect vectors of West Nile fever. Thus, this summarizes the difference between malaria and West Nile virus. Both types of diseases are potentially life threatening.
1. “Anopheles Stephens” By Jim Gathany – from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library (PHIL) (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia