A mosquito emoji proposed by the Center for Communication Programs, based in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been added to the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In 2014, the V&A, as it is known, started adding a wide-ranging set of handpicked modern items to supplement its well-known objects of art and design that include a 16th century desk that belonged to Henry VIII and the earliest photograph of London (1839).
The mosquito emoji is one of 157 new emoji approved in February by the Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit governing body responsible for determining which emoji are added each year. The mosquito emoji is expected to be released as part of the next iOS and Android updates as early as this month.
The idea behind the mosquito emoji is to make it easier for people to communicate about the public health hazards of the most dangerous animal on Earth. Because mosquitoes spread diseases like malaria, Zika, malaria, dengue and yellow fever, they contribute to several million deaths and hundreds of millions of illnesses every year.
A mosquito emoji will give health professionals a quick way to communicate with the public about the presence of mosquitoes, and allow researchers to promote their work around mosquito-borne diseases more easily via social media.