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Nasty Mosquitoes Heading for UK

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    Posted: May 12 2018 at 12:38pm

UK disease WARNING: Aggressive tiger mosquitoes to invade UK bringing dengue fever & Zika

SWARMS of highly aggressive mosquitoes threaten to descend on Britain this summer bringing a risk of dengue fever, West Nile virus and zika outbreaks to the UK.

| UPDATED: 15:51, Fri, May 11, 2018

A perfect storm of extreme cold winter weather followed by an unusually warm spring so far could trigger a population explosion of Asian Tiger Mosquitos, experts warn.

A long, hot summer, as predicted by some independent forecasters could bring a mosquito plague not seen for more than a decade, they fear.

Tiger mosquitoes, thought to have arrived to Britain in small numbers in 2010, are sturdier and fiercer than native species.

Numbers have grown since 2016 years partly due to holidaymakers and cargo lorries unwittingly giving the tiny menaces a lift across the channel from the Continent.

The insects find ponds and pools of stagnant water where they lay eggs which lie dormant over winter before hatching with the flies taking to the air in spring.

Unharmed by harsh cold weather, the hardy eggs bide their time under water until the weather warms up enough for the hatchlings, or nymphs, to emerge.

Mosquito numbers are usually kept under control by damselflies and dragonflies which feed on their larvae and eggs.

However these predators could be scarce this year because unlike their prey, their eggs are highly susceptible to extreme cold with snow and ice.

Swarms of Tiger mosquitoes, identifiable through their black and white striped legs and white dash on their head, will emerge over the coming weeks with fewer hunters to keep their numbers in check, insect boffins say.

Insect bite prevention expert Howard Carter said Britain could be facing a repeat of the 2007 mosquito outbreak which saw homes and gardens were overrun by the pests.

He said: “Asian Tiger Mosquito eggs fare much better in icy conditions unlike the native insects which feed on their larvae and keep their numbers in check.

“Ice and snow keeps the eggs alive and can in fact make the adult mosquito more hardy than their predators.

“These include dragonflies and damselflies which do not fare so well in the cold weather, the very cold winter we have had could affect their numbers this summer.

“We think we could see similar conditions to the mosquito outbreak of 2007 when a very cold winter was followed by a warm spring and their numbers soared.

“It is just a matter of time before the Asian Tiger Mosquito has a hold in this country, it might not be this year but it won’t be long.

“The Asian Tiger Mosquito is very aggressive specially when young, they have one purpose and that is to feed, and the warm weather is a very big driver.

“The warmer it is the faster they can fly, and also during the warm weather there are more people out and so there are more targets for the mosquitos.”

Public Health England (PHE) confirmed Tiger Mosquito – Aedes albopictus – eggs have been identified at surveillance sites in Kent.

Although there have been sightings in parts of southern England over the past eight years, PHE only confirmed their presence in 2016.

A spokesman said: “Through routine surveillance run by PHE, wIf e confirmed a small number of eggs of Aedes albopictus in one trap in Kent on 30 September 2016.

“As a precaution we advised the local authority to use insecticide as a means of control.

“In late July 2017, eggs and larvae of Aedes albopictus were found in a second location in Kent. “Control was performed and, so far, enhanced surveillance has found no further evidence of the mosquito.”

The Tiger Mosquito  population has exploded in France over the past few months due to cold winter weather and blistering early-spring heat.

Eggs, larvae and adult insects can be easily carried over the English Channel further boosting their numbers in the UK.

Mr Carter, founder of Incognito insect repellant, added: “If there are more insects a short distance over the channel then it is a natural progression there will be more which end up in the UK.

“They are easily transported by holidaymakers who unwittingly have eggs or even adult mosquitos in their bags and luggage.

“They are also blown over by high winds in the stratosphere and can come over in cars and shipping containers.

“Once here they only need a small body of water, which can even be a discarded drinks can with water in it, where they lay their eggs and that’s it, the cycle continues.

“This year we expect to see higher numbers not only because they have survived the winter here, but because there are huge numbers already being reported in France and it is very easy for them to travel here.”

As well as being itchy, red and painful, bites from the Asian Tiger Mosquito could potentially spread deadly tropical diseases in the UK.

The vampire-like fly is a major vector for the dengue virus, which causes fever, headaches vomiting and joint pains; West Nile Disease, which can lead to first and muscle weakness; chikungunya virus which leads to fever, joint pain and rash and the zika virus, which can cause birth defects if passed to pregnant women.

Mr Carter warned all a mosquito has to do is bite an infected traveller  to pick up the pathogen and pass it to someone else.

If the insect makes it out of the airport and into the general community it could be enough to trigger an outbreak, he warned.

He said: “If one of these mosquitoes bites somebody coming from an infected area who is carrying the disease that could be a pathway into the UK.

“All it takes is for a tiger mosquito to fly around Gatwick Airport and bite somebody coming off  a plane from a tropical country.

“It then bites somebody else and and that’s it, they transmit the virus and if it leaves the confines of the airport that is enough to be considered an outbreak.

“Since invasive mosquitoes became more widespread in France, surveillance has been conducted by PHE at motorway service stations in the southeast of England on the main routes from the south coast ferry ports and Eurotunnel.

“Every egg or larvae presents a risk of mosquito-borne diseases that are present on the continent: whether that’s dengue or zika.”

An official statement from Public Health England insists: “There is currently no risk to public health in the UK.”


Source photos and video:    https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/958272/UK-disease-health-warning-mosquitoes-Zika-virus-plague-outbreak-epidemic-dengue-fever


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