10 December 2023. Mosquito control in the UK

December 10, 2023

Monitoring mosquitoes in the UK against the risk of dengue fever

he United kingdom The World Health Organization is expanding its mosquito surveillance network in southern England to combat the increasing spread of dengue fever. Types of mosquitoes that transmit the infection Aedes albopictusThe mosquito, known as the Asian tiger mosquito for its distinctive black and white stripes, advances about 93 miles north each year into Europe. In the past two years, a record number of cases have been detected in several European countries, including France, Italy and, most recently, Cyprus.

In response, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is installing more traps at ports, service stations and lorry terminals across south-east England, including London and Kent. The goal is to monitor mosquitoes transported via trucks and shipping containers. Agency officials are also training environmental health officers from government authorities in the region to better identify Aedes albopictus species and determine the conditions under which the insect can survive and reproduce in current and future climates.

The UKHSA aims to deliver this project by spring 2024, in anticipation of another expected wave of infections in the summer. According to Dr Jolyon Medlock, Head of Medical Entomology at UKHSA, the focus is on “making sure we are using the right traps in the right place”.

he Dengue fever, which spreads to humans via mosquito bites, is becoming more common in Europe. In 2022, France recorded a record 65 local cases of dengue fever, compared to 48 cases in the previous ten years. A year later, Italy detected a record number of 117 local cases.

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Although no infections have yet been detected in the UK, experts believe it is only a matter of time. Conditions in the UK are not yet warm enough for mosquitoes to survive and establish themselves, but scientific models suggest this may change in the next 50 years.

Domestic risks UK

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