Spread of tropical infectious diseases

Spread of tropical infectious diseases

Mosquitoes as carriers of tropical infectious diseases

Tropical diseases are spreading more and more in Germany. In the course of climate change, tropical mosquitoes have also gained a foothold in Germany and could bring infectious diseases such as malaria, the parasitic infectious disease leishmaniasis, West Nile fever and dengue fever to Germany. A "nationwide mosquito monitoring should now provide an overview of the spread of blood-sucking insects, changes in the local mosquito fauna and a risk assessment for the spread of infectious diseases", reports the Senckenberg Society for Natural Research (SGN) in a current press release.

The website of the major project, created by the Biodiversity and Climate Research Center (BiK-F) together with the SGN, has been online since today and offers a first overview of the consequences of "climate change, globalization, population growth and biodiversity loss" on the spread of foreign mosquito species in Germany . With the tropical mosquitoes, tropical infectious diseases are coming to Germany that have so far played no role in this country. "Mosquitoes are used by various pathogens, for example viruses or parasites, as a means of transport or as a host - as a so-called vector - to get from one organism to another," explained Professor Dr. Sven Klimpel from the Biodiversity and Climate Research Center and the Senckenberg Society for Natural Research. The experts warn that new epidemics and infectious diseases could occur in this country in the future.

Overview of the mosquito species and the transmitted pathogens In addition to the BiK-F and the SGN, the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg (BNI) and the Municipal Action Group to Combat the Schnakenplage e.V. (KABS) are also involved in the current research project. According to the researchers, "within the next few years they want to gain a detailed overview of the distribution of around 50 mosquito species in Germany and find out which pathogens they can harbor and transmit." The heart of the project is an online database in which the data material of all collected mosquitoes and viruses or pathogens that have been detected in the bloodsuckers are processed. This means that each caught “insect becomes a point on a map of Germany and we get a distribution map that shows us which mosquito species occur where and in what numbers,” reports the SGN.

Domestic mosquitoes as carriers of malaria? The current knowledge about occurrence, distribution and vector competence of mosquitoes in Germany is incomplete and mainly based on outdated data, the scientists explained their current research approach. According to the experts, "reliable and up-to-date data records are essential in order to recognize a potential outbreak of an infectious disease in good time and to be able to take preventive measures." The risk posed by the blood-sucking pests should not be underestimated. For example, sand mosquito species found in this country have been identified as potential vectors for the spread of leishmaniasis. The domestic mosquito Anopheles plumbeus can also be shown to transmit imported strains of the dangerous malaria pathogen Plasmodium falciparum, which would be associated with a particularly high risk of disease. Because this type of mosquito has developed from a pure "tree cave breeder" to a "rain barrel breeder" and now also feels good in gardens and therefore close to humans, according to the SGN.

Spread of invasive mosquito species and tropical infectious diseases According to Prof. Sven Klimpel, "so far no cases of transmission of the diseases mentioned have been reported in Germany and there is no reason to panic." But it is "to be assumed that in the future - due to global warming - Both invasive mosquito species and the associated pathogens will continue to spread and will establish themselves in Europe and Germany in the coming decades. ”The current major project will show how high the risk is at present. (fp)

Also read:
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Spread of the West Nile Virus in Europe
Europe: West Nile fever is spreading
Dangerous tropical fever from bush mosquitoes
Climate change: dengue fever reaches Europe

Author and source information

Video: Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London (September 2020).