Sciensano and the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) are closely monitoring the presence of exotic mosquitoes in Belgium. Through the MEMO + project, they are actively monitoring many parking lots on highways, as mosquitoes may enter our country through traffic. In addition, they launched the sharing platform in May this year Mosquito control Where citizens can upload pictures of curious mosquitoes.
As a result of these measures, Asian tiger mosquitoes were found between May and the end of October this year in twelve different locations in Belgium. This is much more than expected and harmless. Tiger mosquitoes cause a lot of inconvenience during the day due to their aggressive biting behaviour. In addition, after biting an infected person, the mosquito can transmit viruses from infections such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika to other people.
According to Javiera Rebolledo, epidemiologist and project manager at Sciensano, it is completely unexpected and disturbing that the tiger mosquito appears in so many different places in our country. In recent years, the number of tiger mosquitoes has increased, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years.
According to Rebollo, it is important to have a good overview of the introduction and presence of this type of mosquito in our country. She emphasized that citizens’ participation in monitoring tiger mosquitoes is an important addition to active monitoring. “Between May and October 2022, we received approx three hundred Reports from citizensSays. “In nine cases, the image we received was clearly of a tiger mosquito. These positive reports led to field inspections in six cases, during which we found tiger mosquitoes in four locations.
According to Isra Dablao, an entomologist at ITM, the researchers observed eggs and larvae in different locations, which means that tiger mosquitoes breed here as well. “In two locations, tiger mosquitoes also infested the area and disturbed citizens’ parks,” she says. This means that tiger mosquitoes were present in large numbers, which increases the chance that the eggs are overwintering and thus the tiger mosquito establishes itself in Belgium.
According to the researchers, it is important to raise awareness about the tiger mosquito. They also hope to expand tiger mosquito surveillance and further develop prevention and control so that they can delay the establishment of tiger mosquitoes in Belgium as long as possible.
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