What animal kills the most humans every year? Based on several sets of research, humans are among the top killers of humans, but a small number of species are more dangerous. First among these are mosquitoes, which kill approximately a million people a year. Humans are second, killing about 475,000 other humans.
While mosquitoes are the deadliest animals, there is some debate over whether the 1 million per year figure is too high. According to GatesNotes, the official blog of Bill Gates, the accurate figure is 725,000. He writes:
What makes mosquitoes so dangerous? Despite their innocuous-sounding name—Spanish for “little fly”—they carry devastating diseases. 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.
Gates adds that there are approximately 2,500 species of mosquitoes and they live on every continent other than Antarctica.
CBS puts deaths from mosquitoes at 820,000. CNET puts the figure at 1 million. CNET editors write:
According to the World Health Organization, mosquito bites kill 1 million people each year. Most of these are caused by malaria, though West Nile virus and dengue fever are also potentially deadly mosquito-borne diseases.
Gates makes an interesting observation. Mosquitoes don’t kill humans. The diseases they carry do. So, do they belong at the top of the list?