Dangerous bush mosquitoes from Asia are spreading faster in Germany than previously thought
Scientists from the Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) in Müncheberg report that the Asian bush mosquito is spreading rapidly in Germany. The Asian mosquito is dangerous to humans because it transmits the West Nile virus. The latest results from a study showed that the spread is progressing faster than previously thought.
The Asian bush mosquito with the name "Hulecoeteomyia japonica" spreads faster in the German federal territory than researchers had previously suspected. According to the experts from the Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research, the largest populations occur in the federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. A few years ago, mosquito populations were only occasionally found in southern Baden-Württemberg, in northern Switzerland and in some Belgian areas.
Citizens sent in bush mosquitoes
The researchers became aware of the Asian mosquito species through expert advice from the population. Some citizens had sent the exotic insects to the Leibniz Center by post. The scientists then researched the designated areas and discovered that the mosquitoes had multiplied at lightning speed. "We were able to detect numerous mosquitos in flower vases, watering cans and other open water containers," said biologist Doreen Werne.
In the course of the research work, the experts were able to delimit an area of around 2000 square kilometers. The bush mosquito is particularly common in this area. It is also striking that the Asian bush mosquito in the region between Koblenz and Cologne "displaces the local mosquito species".
Asian bush mosquito is considered a West Nile fever carrier
The mosquito is dangerous not because of the emission of the poison but because of the transmission of the dangerous and particularly aggressive West Nile virus. For this reason, health authorities in Germany are extremely worried. So far, the experts have not been able to determine any transmission of the infectious disease, but the risk of transmission increases with the population growth. The most important prerequisite for the transmission of the West Nile virus is previous intake of infected blood.
Progressive climate change is likely to be a major cause of the spread. Due to the favored temperatures, more and more non-native mosquito species settle in Germany. It is becoming increasingly difficult for scientists to keep an eye on all the migrated mosquito species. More and more insects are settling in Central Europe, which are actually used to tropical temperatures.
More migrated mosquitos
At the present time, special mosquito traps are being installed throughout Germany in order to better study the migrating insects. The top priority for the researchers is to investigate whether the mosquitoes carry dangerous pathogens. The scientists are asking the population to actively help. If you are interested in insects and therefore have an idea of the matter, you can “send mosquitoes to the institute”. In this way, the experts were able to "inspect more than 100,000 mosquitoes". The scientists were able to discover pathogens of the Sindbis, Batai and Usutu viruses in bush mosquitoes. In addition, the malaria mosquito (Anopheles plumbeus) has already been investigated, which apparently spreads more in the country in Germany.
If the West Nile virus is transmitted, 80 percent of those infected experience no symptoms. In the other cases, patients experience symptoms that resemble seasonal flu. According to this, fever, body aches, headaches and / or chills can initially appear. In the further course, inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the meninges or acute flaccid paralysis can be triggered. The first symptoms develop after an incubation period of 3 to 15 days. Children, the elderly and the chronically ill are particularly at risk. (sb)
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