The yellow fever mosquito (Ae. aegypti) and the tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus) are vectors of arboviruses of global significance, including yellow fever, chikungunya, and zika. Arboviruses are a group of viruses transmitted by arthropods, which serve as vectors.

From the standpoint of public health protection, knowing and understanding the geographical distribution and presence of these vector species is quite important for planning disease prevention and control and different management interventions. The incidence of these diseases has increased significantly in the last 50 years since these two mosquito species have been able to expand into new geographical areas.

The tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus)

This mosquito originates from Southeast Asia and has rapidly expanded throughout the world over the last few decades due to passive transport of the desiccation-resistant eggs in tires. In 1985 it was found in Texas and the United States and the next year in Latin America.

The first introduction into Europe was in Albania in 1979 and in 1990 it was found in Italy. Since 2000 it expanded to more European countries, including Southern France, and in 2004 it arrived to Spain near Barcelona, from where it has extended all along the Mediterranean coast.

It is predicted that the tiger mosquito could expand from the Mediterranean Basin westward and eastward, to coastal zones of Greece, Turkey, and Balkan countries. Humid and warm climatic conditions could also favor its establishment in Northern Europe.

Tiger mosquito (Ae.albopictus) distribution in Europe (data from January 2016). Source: ECDC

The yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti)

This mosquito is currently found in Africa, in tropical countries, and in the subtropics, especially in Northern Brazil and Southeast Asia, including India. It is also found in the Southeast United States and Northern Australia.

From Africa it was introduced into the Americas around the XVI-XVII centuries with the slave trade. Commerce and transport of goods from the New World caused its repeated introduction into Europe, resulting in establishment of the species throughout the Mediterranean. Over the last 25 years its worldwide distribution has increased as a result of globalization.

In the future the species could become established in areas of Europe with a humid subtropical climate (including areas of Mediterranean and Black Sea countries). It has also been established on the Portuguese island of Madeira since 2005, where it has already caused a dengue outbreak, this being the greatest potential worry for Spain and the Canary Islands.

The Yellow fever mosquito (Ae.aegypti) distribution in Europe (data from January 2016) Source: ECDC

Global distribution map of Ae.albopictus and Ae.aegypti