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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Dengue Fever Asian Mosquito Could Invade UK


08:31 |

Asian Tiger Mosquito

The mosquito can carry dengue and chikungunya viruses

 

A mosquito that spreads tropical diseases including dengue fever may be poised to invade the UK because of climate change.

The Asian tiger mosquito has already been reported in France and Belgium and could be migrating north as winters become warmer and wetter.

Scientists have urged "wide surveillance" for the biting insect across countries of central and northern Europe, including the UK.

The mosquito can carry dengue and chikungunya viruses, both of which cause high fevers. The infections usually occur in tropical regions of Africa, Asia and South America.

Scientists led by Dr Samantha Martin, from the University of Liverpool, used climate models to predict how changing conditions might affect Asian tiger mosquito distribution.

They wrote in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface: "Mosquito climate suitability has significantly increased over the southern UK, northern France, the Benelux, parts of Germany, Italy, Sicily and the Balkan countries."

The research shows that parts of the UK could become hot-spots of Asian tiger mosquito activity between 2030 and 2050.

The mosquito has been introduced into Europe from Asia via goods shipments, mainly used tyres and bamboo.

Climate change is now shifting conditions suitable for the insect from southern Europe to central north-western areas.

The mosquito could survive in water butts and vases, and may find winter protection in greenhouses, said the researchers.


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