Dangerous mosquitoes are spreading rapidly

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A total of 130 locally acquired dengue diseases were registered in the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland in 2023, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC),, based in Solna, Sweden, announced on Tuesday. In 2022, there had only been 71 cases.

“Europe is already experiencing climate change, providing more favourable conditions for invasive mosquitoes to spread to previously unaffected areas and infect more people with diseases such as dengue,” said ECDC Director Andrea Ammon at a press conference.

Due to climate change
There is a “link between higher temperatures in summer, a milder winter and the spread of mosquitoes further into areas where they are not yet present”, Ammon explained. According to her agency, the mosquito species Aedes albopictus, which transmits the Chikungunya and Zika viruses and the fever disease dengue, is spreading further north, east and west in Europe. There are now “self-sustaining populations” of this species in 13 countries in the region studied.

Last year, the ECDC also registered 713 locally acquired cases of West Nile virus, 67 of which were fatal. The infections occurred in nine EU countries.

Significantly more cases
There were more West Nile virus infections in 2022, with 1,133 cases. However, at 123 regions, more European areas were affected in 2023 than at any time since 2018, explained the EU authority. The viral disease is transmitted by the mosquito species Culex pipiens, which originates in Europe and occurs in all countries surveyed, according to the ECDC.
Aedes aegypti mosquito also transmits yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and zika. According to the ECDC, it has recently established itself in Cyprus and other areas on the outer edges of the EU, such as the Portuguese island of Madeira.

The ECDC called for coordinated measures due to the growing risk of mosquito-borne diseases. Insect nets and anti-mosquito sprays should be distributed. Simple measures, such as removing pools of water and standing water on balconies and in gardens that mosquitoes use to lay their eggs, could also reduce the risk.

  • oe24.at/picture: pixabay.com
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