Beware of the Tiger Mosquito

Summer will be here soon and full of wonderful experiences that are all part of why we love living here, but, also brings with it some really nasty pests, the Tiger Mosquitoes. Watch out for it folks and read on as this is pretty serious stuff.

Aedes albopictus also known as (Asian) Tiger Mosquito originated in Southeast Asia, but through the transport of goods and international travel, it has spread to Europe. It is distinct with its black-and-white-striped legs, and small black-and-white-striped body and smaller than a 1 centime euro coin. It also flies slowly.

This is a dangerous vector capable of transmitting viruses such as chikungunya, dengue, and zika virus. We need to all be aware of this pest and report any sightings and be vigilant in the event of being bitten.

In 2015, in France, 135 cases of dengue and 29 cases of chikungunya were reported. Most were imported by people returning from abroad where they were stung, but 6 indigenous cases of dengue were detected in Nîmes. There was an outbreak of 11 cases of indigenous chikungunya in Montpellier in 2014

The national pest control system in France was activated on Monday 1 May to raise awareness of the Tiger Mosquito and encourage all citizens and visitors to report sightings.

If a person has a disease transmitted by the mosquito, it must be reported. This is essential whether the contamination occurs abroad or locally. The person affected will be subject to strict controls at home to ensure there is no spread of disease.

So what can you do to reduce the risk? Well first of all make sure there is no stagnant water near your house. This is where female tiger mosquitoes deposit their eggs. So either get rid of the water, or make sure it is covered.

You can also make sure you and your family are protected. Use mosquito nets and air conditioning rather than open doors and windows. Tiger Mosquitos are active during the day as well as evenings. Use plug in or other pest prevention products around the home and well as on clothes/skin – get advice from your local pharmacy.

The symptoms are usually severe fevers, rashes and sometimes conjunctivitis. There does not appear to be risk of death for adults, but there are severe risks for pregnant woman and children.

If you or anyone in your family or visitors think they are contaminated, whether the sting was abroad or here in France, you must inform your doctor, the Regional Health Agency, and do not move from your home. The medical people will come to you.

The risks of being stung are not deemed very high in the South of France, but the situation could change rapidly, hence the need for vigilance and reporting sightings. Every year the Tiger Mosquito population is spreading.

See the government health website for the current distribution of Tiger Mosquitoes here in France.

If you see any Tiger Mosquitoes, you must use this link to report the sighting. Although it is in French, it is easy to understand and use.

Find out more about the Tiger Mosquito and Government guidance for the PACA region.

If you are worried about fever transmitted by mosquitoes, how to recognise it and how to protect yourself from it, see the Angloinfo Riviera How To page about Dengue Fever.