An exotic Asian mosquito known to carry diseases such as dengue fever and the zika virus has been discovered in Mozambique for the first time, according to a paper by two local researchers who say their findings are of “high public health significance”.
The Aedes Albopictus, or Asian tiger mosquito, is native to south-east Asia and islands of the western Pacific and Indian Ocean, and is known to be successfully invading tropical and temperate regions worldwide, the paper says. It is an effective transmitter of at least 26 viruses affecting humans, including dengue, chikungunya, zika, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis.
Researchers Ayubo Kampango and Ana Paula Abílio discovered the mosquitoes one day last December while at a garden party in the Alto Maé neighbourhood of the Mozambican capital, Maputo. Noting the unusually aggressive mosquitoes attacking their forearms and ankles, the authors collected samples which they tentatively identified as Aedes Albopictus.
Their findings were later confirmed by tests in Maputo’s Laboratory of Entomology at the National Institute of Health, and later by Dr Yiau-Min Huang of the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit, in Maryland, USA.
Alto Maé neighbourhood, near Mozambique’s border with Malawi, told Zitamar News the report should be taken seriously. “The fact they were in a normal neighbourhood, probably way away from any possible source where the mosquitoes could have escaped from (like a research lab), suggests to me that this is a real finding”, he said.
The authors say their report, published on 11 February in the scientific journal Parasites & Vectors, is the first confirmed record of the Aedes Albopictus in the densely populated city of Matupo, and is of high public health significance. The mosquito’s introduction can result in “new patterns of disease transmission and risk profiles”, they warn.
Mozambique has dengue outbreaks in 2014 and 2015, while recent detection of chikungunya virus in acute febrile patients strongly suggests that both dengue and chikungunya strains may be circulating in some northern and southern regions of the country, particularly in Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado, and Maputo.
Mozambique has as yet had no recorded cases of zika, which is mainly affecting southern and central America. Neighbouring South Africa has recorded one case of a visiting Colombian infected with the virus.
source: zitamar news
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