The Xunta reports the detection, for the first time in Galicia, of specimens of the tiger mosquito detected by a Mosquito Alert user

  • The mosquitoes were detected by a resident of Moaña through the citizen participation platform Mosquito Alert, in which the Ministry of Health and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) collaborate.
  • The Aedes albopictus, or ‘tiger mosquito,’ can transmit viruses such as dengue, Zika, or chikungunya, but their presence in the specimens found in Moaña is not confirmed, and the risk of circulation is low, with only a few cases in Spain.
  • A technical coordination committee is established to plan management measures, including population detection through sampling and control efforts to prevent its spread.

Xunta press release, Santiago de Compostela, August 9, 2023

The Galicia’s Xunta, through the Directorate-General of Public Health, announced today the detection of Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, commonly known as ‘tiger mosquitoes,’ in the Municipality of Moaña.

The regional government has a Galician Vector Surveillance Network, which identified over 6,000 mosquito specimens of potential interest last year due to their capacity to transmit human and animal diseases. Since the launch of this year’s new National Plan for the Prevention, Surveillance, and Control of vector-borne diseases, Galicia has also been collaborating with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) to promote the citizen science project ‘Mosquito Alert,’ which encourages public participation in reporting mosquito presence through a mobile app.

Through this method and with the collaboration of a resident of Moañas town, tiger mosquito was detected.  The Galician Vector Surveillance Network analysis confirmed that they belong to this species, which was the first detected in the Autonomous Community of Galicia.

This mosquito is a potential vector of diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, or Zika. Consequently, the protocol outlined in the National Plan involves taking measures to mitigate the risk, even though the presence of any of these viruses in the specimens in Moaña has not been confirmed yet. 

In fact, the presence of this mosquito in other Spanish autonomous communities did not lead to the circulation of these viruses, except for isolated cases of dengue detected in 2018 and 2019.

Technical Coordination Committee 

As part of the protocol established in the National Plan for Prevention, Surveillance, and Control, the Xunta has set up a technical coordination committee. Representatives from the regional departments of Environment, Rural Development, Interior, the Vigo Health Area, and the Moaña Municipality have been requested to participate in this committee.

This committee, coordinated by the Subdirectorate-General for Health Information and Epidemiology of the Directorate-General of Public Health, will convene in the coming days to plan reinforcement actions for monitoring the mosquito population, with the aim of controlling its spread. This includes strengthening epidemiological surveillance for potential cases of bites and disseminating advice to the public on how to prevent mosquito proliferation and bites.

Information and Advice for the Population

The population in the affected area is advised to maintain good personal hygiene and use effective repellents to minimize the risk of mosquito bites. Mosquito bites can be very bothersome and can cause allergic reactions of varying severity.

The ‘tiger mosquito’ breeds in small containers that collect stagnant water for more than a week. Therefore, it is recommended to check places such as pet water bowls, flower vases, or trays under potted plants every 4 or 5 days to prevent the creation of suitable habitats for mosquito breeding.

The Regional Government of Galicia appreciates the citizens’ collaboration in detecting the presence of this mosquito. The Mosquito Alert app allows users to send photographs of detected mosquitoes for analysis by experts from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Galician Vector Surveillance Network, maintained in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Compostela and the University of Vigo.

The Aedes albopictus or ‘tiger mosquito’ is characterized by its intense black coloration with a central white longitudinal line on the thorax and head, and its legs with black and white bands. Its size can range from 5 to 10 millimeters.

Press release link, here.