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EHOs help eradicate invasive mosquito

Stuart Spear09/08/2017 - 14:54

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The Aedes albopictus
The Aedes albopictus

Public Health England (PHE) has been working with EHOs from Ashford BC to eradicate eggs and larvae of an invasive mosquito to prevent it becoming established in the UK.

The move is part of a wider surveillance programme to stem the arrival of new mosquito breeds arriving from Europe, typically through south coast ferry ports and Eurotunnel.

PHE monitors 30 UK ports and airports as well as motorway service stations in south east England on the main routes from the south coast ferry ports and Eurotunnel.

UK’s larger used tyre importers are also monitored as water collected in tyres is an established route in for mosquitoes.

In this case the eggs and larvae of the Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger) mosquito were discovered at Ashford International truck stop. This is the second time the species has been found in the UK with the eggs likely to have come from a pregnant female on board a lorry arriving from the EU.

A similar discovery was made by PHE in Folkestone last September. While there is no immediate public health risk from the discovery, the Asian Tiger has been linked to the spread of dengue and chikungunya in parts of Southern Europe where it is established.

There is no evidence that the A. albopictus is established in the UK or that it can transmit the Zika virus.

Dr Jenny Harries, deputy medical director at Public Health England, said: ‘As a precaution we advised the local authority on measures to eradicate the mosquito and remove any suitable habitats in the area. We will continue to monitor the situation closely through our surveillance system. There is no immediate risk to public health in the UK.’

A characteristic of this particular species is its inability to fly far so control measures were introduced within a 300-metre radius of the truck stop. With fewer that 10 residential properties within the impacted area EHOs have been working with households to ensure there are no aquatic habitats that could act as potential breeding grounds.

As part of the prevention strategy EHOs were asked to:

·         Survey the 300m zone for bodies of water and other possible habitats that would allow the mosquito breed. This included items of litter, building materials, bird baths, water butts etc

·         Coordinated the pest control treatments, removal of litter and any other actions

·         Provided advice to businesses and households within the 300m zone

The species has also shown an ability to adapt to the UK environment by laying ‘diaspausing eggs’ that can survive winters in temperate areas by hibernating and then hatching in the spring.

Since the discovery of the eggs surveillance has been increased with additional traps and larval sampling.












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