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Tiger Mosquitoes Over 1/2 France

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    Posted: April 30 2018 at 1:51pm

Tiger mosquitoes capable of carrying Zika spread across half of France

29 April 2018 • 5:56pm

Aggressive tiger mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as Zika, dengue and Chikungunya fever have spread throughout half of France as health authorities urge holidaymakers to use repellents.

The invasive insect, which originated in Asia and can be recognised from its distinctive black-and-white striped body and legs, is now prevalent throughout the south and centre of the country, in the southern Paris suburbs and in pockets in the north.

Its numbers — and the area affected — have doubled in the past two years. 

The public health authority warned that 42 of France’s 96 départements are affected. It urged people to be vigilant from May until November and to “drain away stagnant water, where mosquitoes can reproduce, around homes.”

Tiger mosquitoes have propagated an epidemic of dengue fever in the French Indian Ocean island of Réunion and the health authority fears that returning holidaymakers could bring the virus in mainland France, where it could be spread by tiger mosquitoes.

“There is a real risk of creating a local cycle of transmission,” the authority warned in a statement, pointing out that 18 cases of locally-transmitted dengue fever were recorded in southern France 2014 and 2015, and 17 cases of Chikungunya on the Riviera last year.

Symptoms of dengue and Chikingunya include severe joint pain, fever, headaches, weeping eyes and a rash.

Officials also warned of the risk that travellers may bring the Zika virus to metropolitan France from French territories in the Caribbean such as Martinique and Guadeloupe, from French Guiana in South America or from countries such as Brazil.

The symptoms of Zika and dengue fever are similar. The disease is often mild and healthy adults may present no symptoms at all.

In pregnant women, the Zika virus can spread to the foetus and cause severe birth defects such as microcephaly, which impedes brain development.

It can be spread by mosquitoes or sexually transmitted.

Infected babies are born with much smaller heads than normal and the neurological disorder often leads to early death.

France was the European country worst affected by the Zika epidemic in South and North America in 2015 and 2016, which caused the World Health Organisation to declare an international public health emergency.

France reported 1,141 cases of Zika infection between June 2015 and March 2017 — more than half of the 2,133 cases detected in the EU.

Doctors believe most of those treated for Zika in France were infected in Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana.

Alexandra Sepftons of Public Health France said that so far there have been no known cases of Zika infection from tiger mosquitoes in Europe, partly thanks to effective “vector control” measures.

But she added that the number of cases “may have been underestimated because of the significant proportion of asymptomatic cases of Zika infection.”

The French health authority is urging householders to remove anything outdoors that could collect rainwater.

Its advice is to fill areas of stagnant water with sand and to remove flower vases indoors or change the water several times a week to prevent female mosquitoes from laying eggs in it.

Holidaymakers are urged to use anti-mosquito sprays and wear long-sleeved clothing and trousers.

People who see a tiger mosquito are asked to photograph it and send the picture to the health authority to help track the spread of the insect.

When an area is confirmed as affected, the authorities spray insecticide where possible and monitor mosquitoes for viruses.

In some areas such as Blagnac, near Toulouse in southern France, new predators have been introduced to try to reduce mosquito numbers, including fish that eat their eggs and bats that can devour up to 2,000 mosquitoes in a single night.

French beekeepers have warned that Asian hornets, another invasive and aggressive insect, are emerging from hibernation early this year because of warm spring weather.

Their sting can cause severe allergic reactions and may be fatal in a small number of cases.

First seen in south-western France in 2004, they rapidly spread across France and have now crossed the Channel to Britain.

Source and map of spread:

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 30 2018 at 6:24pm
We have them in SoCal too - they appeared a couple of years ago. They are ferocious and will bite at any time of the day or night, and they'll track you inside. I was eaten alive working at my in-laws until I found they'd left their hot tub full and unused. When I lifted the cover, it looked like a science experiment. A gallon of bleach and running it on the highest temperature setting for half an hour fixed it.

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