Deadly Mosquitoes May Have Infiltrated The UK Through A Train Tunnel
Here in America the aedes aegypti mosquito poses the greatest threat of disease to the country’s population. The recent Zika outbreaks in America were caused almost exclusively by this particular mosquito species. These mosquitoes often carry dengue fever and chikungunya in addition to Zika. However, the aedes aegypti mosquito is not the only Zika carrying mosquito that poses a public health threat in certain regions of the globe. Another potentially deadly mosquito species is commonly referred to as the Asian tiger mosquito. This mosquito species is native to eastern Asia, and it is officially referred to as Aedes albopictus. Despite the fact that these mosquitoes are native to Asia, countries in Europe have been seeing deaths resulting from this mosquitos’ invasive presence on the continent. How the mosquitoes accessed Europe in such great numbers cannot be determined with certainty. But many government officials believe that Asian tiger mosquitoes infiltrated regions as far north as Britain by accessing train tunnels.
Not long ago officials with the government agency known as Public Health England destroyed tiger mosquito eggs that were present in shipping containers. These containers were seized at an international truck stop in Ashford, England. This particular occasion had marked the second time in a year that tiger mosquitoes were discovered in the country.
The Asian tiger mosquito is well known for being the primary vector for the spread of chikungunya. Tiger mosquitoes cause over one million cases of chikungunya every year. Chikungunya has no cure and it causes painful flu-like symptoms in sufferers. These symptoms include headache, nausea, joint pain and rashes.
This is not the first time that tiger mosquitoes have been found in Europe. A decade ago Italy struggled with a nationwide tiger mosquito epidemic. In 2014 France announced that two citizens had contacted chikungunya. Tiger mosquito larvae can enter foreign countries easily in shipping containers, as they can survive for months in relatively harsh conditions. The mosquitoes arrived in Europe as grubs in tire shipments a few years ago. The grubs are well suited for surviving in wet pockets in rubber tires. Public health officials are now monitoring the Euroway tunnel for signs of a tiger mosquito presence after experts determined that the tunnel was a likely invasion route.
Do you believe that the Asian tiger mosquito problem in Europe will only get worse in accordance with increasing climate change?