First record of the invasive mosquito species Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) on the southernmost Mediterranean islands of Italy and Europe

Marco Di Luca, Luciano Toma, Francesco Severini, Daniela Boccolini, Salvatore D'Avola, Diego Todaro, Alessandra Stancanelli, Francesco Antoci, Francesco La Russa, Sandro Casano, Salvatore D. Sotera, Eugenio Carraffa, Veerle Versteirt, Francis Schaffner, Roberto Romi, Alessandra Torina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Aedes albopictus, a known worldwide vector of several mosquito-borne disease pathogens including dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses, was introduced into Europe in the late 1970s through global trade. First recorded in northern Italy in 1990, this mosquito species has rapidly spread throughout the country, where it was responsible for an outbreak of chikungunya in 2007 that affected more than 200 people. As part of the VectorNet project, which is aimed at improving preparedness and responsiveness for animal and human vector-borne diseases in Europe, a mosquito targeted study was carried out on the three southernmost Italian islands. The objective was to verify the current European southern distribution limits of Ae. albopictus and the potential occurrence of other invasive mosquito species, in the light of the introduction of high risk for vector-borne disease pathogens into Europe via migration flows. Results: In the summer 2015, six surveys for container-breeding mosquitoes were carried out by setting up a network of oviposition traps and BG Sentinel traps in selected areas on the islands of Pantelleria, Lampedusa and Linosa. Aedes albopictus was found on all three islands under investigation. The consequences on public health with regard to the presence of this mosquito vector and the migrant people entering the country from Africa and the Middle East are also discussed here. Conclusions: The detection of the Asian tiger mosquito on these islands, which represent the last European strip of land facing Africa, has important implications for public health policy and should prompt the national authorities to implement tailored surveillance activities and reinforce plans for preparedness strategies in such contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number543
JournalParasites and Vectors
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2 2017

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Keywords

  • Aedes albopictus
  • Entry routes
  • First record
  • Invasive mosquito
  • Italy
  • Lampedusa
  • Linosa
  • Pantelleria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

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