A Christian relief organization is launching an awareness week about the dangers of mosquitos, labeling the insect the "world's deadliest creature."
Operation Blessing International will host its first-ever "Mosquito Week" beginning on Sunday. The main purpose is to raise awareness about the dangerous illnesses mosquitos spread, especially in the developing world.
David Darg, vice president of international operations for Operation Blessing International, told The Christian Post that "Mosquito Week" was scheduled to intentionally overlap with the renowned "Shark Week" programming on the Discovery Channel.
"Operation Blessing has been running mosquito abatement programs around the world for years. With the emergence of the recent Zika crisis, our fight against mosquitos has increased with anti-Zika programs in Latin America," said Darg.
"The Zika crisis seems daunting, but there are solutions available. We launched Mosquito Week as a way to educate the public on the things we can do to stop mosquito-borne diseases, specifically Zika."
Darg also told CP he hopes Mosquito Week will help people "learn more about the threat of mosquitoes, but also recognize that mosquito-borne illness is something we can be effective in preventing, given the proper resources."
"Hollywood hasn't made a good mosquito equivalent of Jaws yet, so the threat of these tiny insects hasn't been immortalized," continued Darg.
"Ironically, movies like Jaws sensationalize the threat of sharks to humans, where mosquitos are a stealth killer: you might not even know you were bitten and still contract Zika. To me that's far more frightening!"
Operation Blessing is not the only entity noting the dangerous nature of the mosquito. In an April 2014 blog entry, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates noted the sheer scale of mosquitos' lethal tendencies.
"The worst is malaria, which kills more than 600,000 people every year; another 200 million cases incapacitate people for days at a time. It threatens half of the world's population and causes billions of dollars in lost productivity annually. Other mosquito-borne diseases include dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis," wrote Gates.
"Considering their impact, you might expect mosquitoes to get more attention than they do. Sharks kill fewer than a dozen people every year and in the U.S. they get a week dedicated to them on TV every year. Mosquitoes kill 50,000 times as many people, but if there's a TV channel that features Mosquito Week, I haven't heard about it."
According to data from the World Health Organization, the mosquito is responsible for more human deaths per year than any other animal. At about 750,000 deaths per year, the mosquito causes more deaths in a typical year than snakes (50,000 annually), crocodiles (1,000), or lions (100).
"As we move into the future, the best methods of mosquito eradication will likely be biological ones. Operation Blessing first utilized mosquito larvae eating fish as a means of battling mosquitoes in post-Katrina New Orleans," noted Operation Blessing.
"Since then we have continued our biological mosquito control research around the globe with mosquito-eating fish, juvenile turtles and small crustaceans called copepods, creating our 'Bug-Busters Dream Team.' Operation Blessing is currently conducting a pilot study in Honduras to test the effectiveness of these animals and to help establish the first ever mosquito control department in the country."