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Mosquitoes: "The most murderous animal on Earth"

Last Updated Feb 11, 2016 3:27 PM EST

  • A technician of Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) inspects an Aedes aegypti mosquito in Recife, Brazil, January 27, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

    When you think of the world's most dangerous animals, an insect may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But the buzzing creatures we mostly think of as pests can actually be quite deadly.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the mosquito is the greatest menace of all disease-transmitting insects, causing several million deaths and hundreds of millions of cases of illnesses around the world each year.

    "It's the world's worst killer. It's the most murderous animal on Earth," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS News.

    Zika virus is the latest mosquito-borne disease to make major news headlines, but a number of other illnesses can also be spread by mosquitoes who carry infections from one victim to the next. Click through to learn more about the greatest mosquito threats.

  • Ashley Welch On Twitter»

    Ashley Welch covers health and wellness for CBSNews.com