Tiger mosquito red alert

Paris, Tuesday May 10, 2022 – Almost all of France has been put on alert” red in view of the danger of the spread of the tiger mosquito.

A heatwave hits France this week, with temperatures up to 10°C warmer than normal for the season. A situation that risks promoting the proliferation of a particularly harmful animal: Aedes albopictus, better known as the tiger mosquito, an insect that transmits dengue, chikungunya, and zika viruses. In fact, the heat increases the lifespan of this insect, which increases from 29 days at 25ºC to 32 days at 30ºC. The rise in temperature also shortens the time it takes for the larva to transform into an adult mosquito, from 10 days at 23°C to 6 days at 30°C. A heat wave immediately leads to a phenomenon of multiplication and spread summarizes Stéphane Rober, President of the Vigilances Moustiques website.

Avoid standing water

The entire half of southern France, as well as the Ile-de-France, has therefore been put on alert, which corresponds to the situation where the mosquito is established and active. Only the regions of northern France are still spared and subject to simple entomological surveillance, but the rise in temperature could allow the tiger mosquito to migrate there.

The situation is serious enough that the Ministry of Health has decided to trigger an enhanced surveillance mechanism, which will be in effect from 1st April 2020ah May to 30.11. This system includes increased surveillance of mosquito populations, prompt reporting of any suspected cases of dengue, chikungunya or Zika fever, and raising public awareness of vector control. The residents of regions affected by the spread of the tiger mosquito are therefore asked to cover or avoid standing water bodies that are particularly favorable for the spread of these mosquitoes. It is also recommended to use mosquito nets and repellents (Icaridin is the most effective). Finally, to protect against bites, it is advisable to wear loose and covering clothing.

Arrived in metropolitan France in 2004

Long confined to Southeast Asia, the tiger mosquito has spread across the world in recent decades thanks to global warming, increased travel, and its great adaptability. This is how he came to southern Europe in the 1990s before gradually moving north.

First detected in mainland France in 2004, it was initially limited to the south-east of the country before spreading to almost all of France in recent years. The tiger mosquito has already caused several epidemics of dengue fever and chikungunya in the French West Indies and Réunion, and a handful of autochthonous cases have been detected in mainland France in recent years.

Nicholas Barbert

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