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Lots of insects suck blood, but one species above all others has a reputation, out of all proportion to its size: the mosquito. Due to the diseases they carry and inject, mosquitoes are responsible for more human deaths than any other animal. The most deadly of these diseases is malaria, which although eradicated from much of the northern hemisphere, continues to pose a mortal threat in developing countries. Two billion people a year are exposed to malarial infection, of which over 350 million succumb, and nearly 700,000 die, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Mosquito, Richard Jones recounts the history of mosquitoes' relationship with mankind, and their transformation from a trivial gnat into a serious disease-carrying menace. Drawing on scientific fact, historical evidence, and literary evocation, the book provides a colourful portrait of this tiny insect and the notorious diseases it carries.
Mosquito offers a compelling warning against the contemporary complacency surrounding malaria and other diseases in western society, whilst also exploring the sinister reputation of the insect in general. Written in an accessible style for a broad readership, this book will appeal to all those with an interest in tropical medicine and disease, as well as anyone pestered in the night by the annoying, familiar whine of this diminutive airborne adversary.
Richard Jones is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London and the Linnean Society of London, and was President of the British Entomological and Natural History Society 2001-2002. He has published a number of books on insects and wildlife including Nano Nature (2009) and Extreme Insects (2010).