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Urgent warning issued as deadly tiger mosquitoes invade popular holiday hotspot

British tourists planning to visit the Canary Islands this summer are being warned of a potential health risk due to the presence of a deadly disease-carrying mosquito.

An urgent call for enhanced sea controls has been made to the Spanish government after several tiger mosquitoes were discovered inside two containers at the port of Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife.

The tiger mosquitoes, known scientifically as Aedes albopictus, were found in an area frequented by tourists, where hundreds of merchant ships and cruise liners dock monthly.

Local officials have stressed the need for increased monitoring of ships arriving from regions where the tiger mosquito is prevalent, specifically the Levantine and Andalusian coasts.

Aedes albopictus, smaller and darker than common mosquitoes, with distinctive silver bands on their bodies and white-striped legs, do not emit the typical mosquito buzzing sound.

These insects are known carriers of deadly diseases such as Dengue fever and the Zika virus.

The plea for tighter controls follows closely on the heels of Tenerife’s declaration that it was free of Aedes albopictus.

However, the recent discovery of these mosquitoes in the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has prompted the Canarian Ministry of Health to reactivate protocols under the Entomological Surveillance System.

The mosquitoes were found in different growth stages in two containers from Castellon.

On Thursday, the Port Inspection Centre (CIP) alerted the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, part of the University of La Laguna, about the mosquitoes found during an inspection.

The insects were discovered flying around two containers holding large olive trees, with puddles of water inside the tree trunks serving as breeding sites.

Laboratory analysis confirmed the presence of a high density of mosquito larvae and pupae, identified as Aedes albopictus.

Consequently, the containers and their contents were fumigated as a preventive measure.

In response, the Surveillance and Public Health System team has increased the placement of traps at various risk points, particularly in areas where mosquitoes have been detected.

Port authorities in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas, along with the Santa Cruz City Council, have been notified to implement the necessary actions.

Sampling and reviewing of potential breeding sites in the area have been intensified.

Since January 2023, the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has periodically detected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, including in February, March, and May 2023 on cruise ships.

A specimen of Aedes albopictus was also found in November 2023, associated with ship traffic.

These mosquitoes were again detected in the port of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria during November 2023 and January 2024.

In June, health officials reported battling a mosquito outbreak in northern Tenerife, with a single find in a house in Santa Cruz, believed to have originated from an orchid imported from Holland.


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