Saturday 20 October 2018

Malaria mosquito species found in Ireland

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Stock picture
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Health inspectors have found 53 different species of mosquitoes in Ireland, including forms that spread malaria and the West Nile virus.

The surveillance was carried out last year by laying traps under bushes, near trees and in shady places located around points of entry, such as Shannon Airport, Dublin Airport and the seaports of Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Limerick.

They include Anopheles plumbeus, which has been shown to be a "reasonably good transmitter of malaria".

The vast majority of species were Culex pipiens, which can carry diseases such as West Nile virus. No evidence of the Aedes species, which has been linked to the Zika virus, was found.

The larvae - a junior form of mosquito - develop once the water or ground temperatures are consistently above 10 degrees centigrade, according to a report by the HSE environmental officers.

Climate

Mosquitoes like high temperatures, so climate change, with wet and warmer weather, has been blamed for making parts of Europe a more friendly habitat. The health inspectors said the peak period for specimen collection last year was August and September.

The potential for mosquitoes to enter Ireland is through vessels, aircraft and cargo arriving into Irish ports from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Mexico and Panama.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre said there were not enough mosquitoes in Ireland to carry infected blood.

Large numbers are need to sustain spread of infection. The climate is still too cold for them to multiply.

Irish Independent

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