The researchers have found eggs in two different areas of Extremadura during the inspections of the Surveillance Plan of the Extremadura region.
Since 2017 the region of Extremadura was getting prepared for the possible arrival of the tiger mosquito in collaboration with Mosquito Alert, as the species was going forward throught the Iberian Peninsula. In April 2018, the researchers’ team started a new campaign with 17 strategic points in the region with 61 ovitraps. In August, they detected eggs in two of these ovitraps situated in the west and the south the region. After that, the analytics in the laboratory confirmed the finding as tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus).
The finding has been possible thanks to the research project “Tiger mosquito surveillance and analytics of the possible risk of Occidental Nilo virus in Extremadura”, led by the professor of University of Extremadura Dr. Eva Mª Frontera Carrión, together with the vet and entomology expert Dr. Daniel Bravo Barriga and a team of scientists and entomology and health professionals.
The scientific team has focused surveillance areas on bus stations, the airport, main service stations along the A5 and A66, tire centers and freight logistics centers. “The tiger mosquito is very easy to travel in vehicles such as cars, buses or trucks, being one of the most important mechanisms by which it has been passively extending in our country,” explains Dr. Eva Mª Frontera. In the same way, and due to the ease of breeding in the water of the vases, traps have also been placed in the cemeteries of Cáceres, Badajoz, Mérida, and Plasencia.
According to the researchers, there is currently no cause for alarm, because “the number of insects is very low and the health authorities have already taken the appropriate measures for their elimination”, explains Dr. Daniel Bravo, and remarks that “in addition, there are measures very basic that between all we can take to eliminate the breeding places of the mosquito”. Some of these tips are to avoid accumulation of water in the plates of the pots, to renew frequently the water of the drinking troughs of the animals, to drain adequately sites that could be flooded frequently, etc.
To increase the surveillance points, those citizens who create visualize a tiger mosquito, can photograph it and send the photograph through the mobile app “Mosquito Alert”, where a group of experts at a national level can corroborate if it is a copy of tiger mosquito or another species of insect.