Aedes aegypti raising concerns for continental EU

06 February 2018

Article: 52/0503

Commenting on recent findings of new settlements of Aedes aegypti, the main vector species of dengue, chikungunya, Zika and yellow fever, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has called for strengthened surveillance and vector control preparedness for mosquito-borne diseases.

ECDC argues that, if these are not implemented in time, Aedes aegypti will inevitably spread within the affected EU outermost regions, such as Madeira and Canary Islands, and may be a source of vector introductions into continental EU, increasing the risk of local outbreaks of arboviruses so far limited to more tropical climates.

In December 2017, officials from the Spanish outermost region of the Canary Islands reported the detection of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes on the island of Fuerteventura, a popular destination for travellers. Earlier in the year the comeback of Aedes aegypti in Egypt, which has been facing local outbreaks of dengue around the Red Sea coast and travel-related cases among European travellers in recent years, was confirmed.

In the past, Aedes aegypti has been responsible for large outbreaks of yellow fever and dengue in the Mediterranean region. After having proliferated during the 18th and 19th centuries, it disappeared mid-20th century from the Mediterranean countries.

Since 2007, the species is established on the Portuguese outermost region of Madeira as well as around the Black Sea. In Madeira, Aedes aegypti was the vector of a 2012-2013 dengue outbreak. Recent VectorNet data show that the species is now further spreading to the west along the Black Sea coast of Turkey.

Source: ECDC, 1 February 2018