Premieres Thursday, July 6 at 9 PM ET/PT on Discovery Channel
As many in the world prepare for the warm summer months, Discovery will use its global reach to focus the world’s attention on the single greatest agent of death in modern human history: the mosquito. The global crisis is highlighted in the worldwide premiere of the upcoming Discovery Impact film “MOSQUITO,” Thursday, July 6th at 9pm, on Discovery Channel and Discovery networks around the world.
Recent news coverage around the globe has highlighted individual outbreaks of diseases such as Zika, malaria, West Nile virus, yellow fever, chikungunya, and dengue. But there is a bigger story to be told, one that connects the dots between these diseases and reveals how a single force is driving them all: the unceasing, accelerating expansion of the mosquito around the globe, driven by factors such as increasing global travel and trade and a warmer world that is more hospitable to mosquitos.
“MOSQUITO” is a timely in depth look at this very tiny, very dangerous creature, and how it is changing in unpredictable and unprecedented ways. Narrated by Academy Award® nominated actor Jeremy Renner (“The Town,” “The Hurt Locker,”) the film chronicles the increasing global threat this tiny animal poses and the potential lethal ramifications without a worldwide coordinated effort. The film features interviews with leading experts including former CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who points out that the resources required to fight an outbreak relative to the level of death that could result from a fatal pandemic makes this a clear global health priority.
Mosquitos kill more than 750,000 people a year, many of whom are children. Today, rapid environmental shifts like climate change and the ease of international travel for both humans and goods have only increased the threat mosquitos pose, hastening their spread around the globe. As deadly mosquitos are now reaching and surviving in places they have never - including Florida and Texas, and as far north as Washington D.C. and New York - they are bringing diseases like Zika, dengue, and yellow fever to uncharted and unprepared parts of the world. Shot on four continents, “MOSQUITO” weaves together expert interviews with the intimate stories of the men, women, and children who are living in fear that the next bite could be a deadly one.
The first human cases of Zika migrated out of Africa and into Malaysia in 1967. Forty years later, Zika had its first outbreak in Micronesia, causing the disease’s spread through the Pacific Islands to Brazil in 2014. The first reported case of Zika in Puerto Rico was in December 2015. A year later more than 34,000 people carried the disease. Now over 2.5 billion people are at risk for a potential outbreak of that illness alone, which could cost the world over 500 billion dollars. These alarming numbers are a predictor of what could happen if worldwide health leaders today do not convene and act. And while some progress has been made against mosquito-borne illness, half of the world’s population remains at risk for malaria and other deadly diseases.
“MOSQUITO” profiles a father and son from a remote village in Kenya. The father, wondering why even with their malaria nets they both have contracted the disease, carries his son on his back for to a hospital while neglecting his own care. In addition, the film highlights, Leslie Meiners, a mother from Queens, NY who contracted West Nile virus in her own neighborhood. “I never thought it would happen to me. West Nile virus, in this modern-day society,” states Meiners in the film. “It is like playing Russian Roulette. I lost at that game.”
“MOSQUITO” also spotlights the story of a Miami, Florida couple with a young daughter and another on the way. Scott and Lindsay Fuhrman have quarantined themselves in their home for fear of contracting Zika. “It’s summer in Miami and we are cooped up scared to go outside,” explains Lindsay. The family is frustrated feeling that their lawmakers have let them down. “Our government failed,” states Scott. “They thought this was a fantasy. We all saw it coming and they refused to help us.”