Zika, dengue or chikungunya are some of the 22 diseases different than can transmit the tiger mosquito in contact with a human. The experts, who take campaign started of this type of insect in Spain, they assure that does not transmit coronavirus and they also predict that this year the transmission of other imported viruses will decrease thanks to the tourist break due to the pandemic global.
The CREAF scientists, who lead the Mosquito Alert program, in which citizens collaborate by advising of the presence of mosquitoes, confirm that the third invasive mosquito installed in Spain, the Aedes japonicus, a mosquito of Japanese origin detected for the first time in 2018 on the peninsula, is already in Asturias and Cantabria.
According to CREAF, during the past year some tiger mosquitoes were exposed to 70 million people in Spain, between the resident population and tourists, counting only the Mosquito Alert data, a program created five years ago and currently financed by the La Caixa Social Work, the European Research Council (ERC) of the European Comission and the Barcelona City Council.
This system already has more than 70,000 downloads of its app, and accumulates 15,000 mosquito photos and 4,000 places with stagnant waters published by citizens, which are precisely those that at this time the first copies of tiger mosquito.
CREAF highlighted that this year’s comes in full coronavirus pandemic, but they affirm that, although mosquitoes of the genus Aedes are capable of transmitting 22 different types of viruses, do not have the possibility of transmitting SARS-VOC-2.
Furthermore, they emphasize, the planned stoppage of tourism this summer can curb imported cases of dengue, zika, or chikungunya, diseases that can be transmitted by tiger mosquitoes, and reduce native infections in people who have not traveled to countries where they are conditions are endemic.
“Although the nuisance caused by mosquitoes will not decrease, in 2020 we can expect less likelihood of indigenous cases of these diseases like those detected in the last two years in Andalusia, Murcia and Catalonia “, predicts Frederic Bartumeus, researcher at CEAB-CSIC and CREAF and director of Mosquito Alert. However, Bartomeus warns that this summer part of Spanish territory will coexist with another newcomer, Aedes japonicus.
Although mosquitoes will not decrease, we can expect less probability of indigenous cases of these diseases.
“During 2019 we have received 10 photos of Aedes japonicus, which confirm that it has spread to Cantabria “, according to Bartumeus.
It also warns that we must continue to monitor the possible arrival of Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito originating in Africa, which arrived in the Canary Islands in 2017, although it could be eliminated thanks to the local management that was done.
“Citizen participation is a great help to discover the arrival of invasive species: some works consider that we can advance their detection to two years and a half“said John Palmer, a researcher at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF).
Only with the data collected in the application, this 2019 has been able to confirm the presence of the tiger mosquito in 251 Spanish municipalities, so there are already a total of 550 localities in Spain where this insect is present.