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Monday, September 22, 2014

Deadly Mosquitoes Threaten United Kingdom

Forget Scottish independence, the biggest threat to the UK may be an invasion of potentially lethal mosquitoes that is already marching on Britain after arriving in the South East.
The deadly Asian tiger mosquito is a vector for dengue fever and chikungunya, a virus that can cause fevers of up to 40 C and joint pains that can last for several years.
The current wave of invaders is said to be carrying the West Nile virus, which causes symptoms similar to influenza. According to the Mirror, severe cases cause swelling of the brain and the spinal cord.
The mosquitos have spread across Europe in recent years, and have now been recorded in several locations in Kent.
Public Health England's Medical Entomology team programme leader Dr Jolyon Medlock said: "One of the things we are looking at is the incursion of invasive mosquitoes which act as vectors for diseases such as dengue fever and chikungunya. The number of cases is fairly low in Europe at the moment, but with climate change and increased globalisation there is the potential for that to change."
The finding the Aedes albopictus mosquito in southern England is not surprising. It is already established in countries in the Mediterranean Basin, and predictive models forecast the extension of the range of this mosquito northward as climate change progresses.
Dengue and chikungunya viruses have occasionally been transmitted by Ae. albopictus in southeastern Europe, so concern about introduction of these and other mosquito-transmitted viruses into the United Kingdom is a valid concern.
Ae. albopictus "has managed to survive and spread in some [warmer] Mediterranean countries, especially in Italy where it has spread to many regions and provinces. There are various biological strains of Ae. albopictus and if the strain is a temperate one then it could survive in other European countries or areas where the mean summer temperature is at least 20 degrees C, and winter mean temperatures zero degrees C; in these conditions it would likely survive the cold months in the egg state." Once established, eradication can be difficult.

Source ProMED-mail

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