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Review of status and public health importance of invasive mosquitoes in Europe

30 Apr 2012

Invasive mosquito species in Europe present a potential public health threat and their surveillance and control are essential, concludes an article published this week in the journal ‘Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases’, funded and co-authored by ECDC.

The article provides a review of the current geographic spread (pathways for importation and onward dissemination), public health risks related to disease transmission, biology and climatic conditions and control methods of the invasive mosquitoes in Europe.

In the recent years six  non-European Aedes mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus, Aedes aegypti, Aedes japonicus, Aedes atropalpus, Aedes koreicus, Aedes triseriatus) have been imported in Europe through the international trade and some of these species are established and spread in Europe.

The invasive mosquito species present a public health risk, as they can be vectors for a number of pathogens. While there is no proof that they could all transmit diseases, there is a potential risk linked to the presence of such mosquito species in Europe, concludes the article. Recent outbreaks of mosquito-borne disease - the chikungunya fever in Italy in 2007 and subsequent autochthonous cases of dengue fever in France and Croatia in 2010 - confirms this threat . This risk can increase in the future, state the authors, due to geographical establishment of the mosquito species in Europe, more frequent travel, and more favourable climatic conditions.

That is why, surveillance and control of the exotic mosquito species in Europe are essential. ECDC through VBORNET (a network of European medical entomologists and public health experts) generates updated quaterly maps of the current distribution status of the exotic mosquito species in Europe  - based on a compilation of existing data from various sources. Information exchange between medical entomologists, public health professionals responsible for managing disease outbreaks and policymakers is needed to improve preparedness for vector-borne diseases.

ECDC will produce in 2012 guidelines to assist the Member States to implement invasive mosquito vector surveillance and improve coverage and harmonisation of data collection within the EU.

Read the article – published in Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases and openly accessible:
A Review of the Invasive Mosquitoes in Europe: Ecology, Public Health Risks, and Control Options, Jolyon M. Medlock, Kayleigh M. Hansford, Francis Schaffner,  Veerle Versteirt, Guy Hendrickx, Herve Zeller, and Wim Van Bortel5, Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, Volume 12, Number XX, 2012

Read more:
Aedes aegypti
Aedes albopictus
Aedes japonicus
Mosquito guidelines
VBORNET (a network of European medical entomologists and public health experts)
VBORNET maps of exotic mosquito species in Europe
Vector-borne diseases
Emerging and Vector-borne Diseases Programme

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