ANECPLA: The high risk of mosquitoes this summer


ANECPLA warns of the high risk of proliferation of several species of mosquitoes this summer

  • - This spring's abundant rainfall and high temperatures are creating the ideal breeding ground for the rapid reproduction of mosquitoes, such as the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) or the common mosquito (Culex pipiens).
  • - Last year, as a result of the confinements and the lack of prevention and maintenance, there were mosquito species that doubled their population, so we cannot afford another year of population increases that would aggravate the situation.
  • - The National Association of Environmental Health Companies (ANECPLA) urges us to take extreme precautions against the proliferation of mosquitoes, some of which transmit potentially dangerous diseases such as the Zika virus, Dengue or Chikungunya, among others.

Madrid, 13 May 2021 - For several years now, the presence in our territory of certain mosquito species from other geographies has become a problem. Such is the case, for example, of the tiger mosquito, which entered our country in the summer of 2004 from Asia.

To the arrival and expansion of these species, in 2020 we had to add the health outbreak of COVID-19, with the consequent confinement and neglect of the work of preventing the growth of populations, maintenance and cleaning of natural spaces. All of this favoured the development and expansion of populations, such as the common mosquito or Culex pipiens; something that led to fatal consequences such as the West Nile fever that dozens of people contracted last summer in Andalusia from the bite of this species, which caused seven deaths.

In the case of the tiger mosquito, and according to data from Mosquito Alert, in the first half of last year alone its presence increased by 70% compared to 2018. And this summer, ANECPLA expects this trend to continue to multiply. Both of this, and of all the species with a presence in our country.

"The abundant rainfall of the last few weeks, together with the mild temperatures we are enjoying this spring, are creating the perfect cocktail for the rapid proliferation of mosquitoes," says the general director of ANECPLA, Milagros Fernández de Lezeta. "For this reason, it is essential that everyone, from public administrations to private citizens, take the necessary vigilance, prevention and control measures to contain the spread of these annoying and, some of them, potentially dangerous insects. We cannot afford another year of population increases, which would make the situation much worse and make it more difficult to control in the future".

In this sense, ANECPLA reminds us that now is the ideal time for the Administrations to reinforce prevention and control work because, they insist, these optimum conditions of humidity and temperature favour the larvae cycle to be completed much more quickly, which is precisely the moment when their control is most effective.

"Last year, with the confinement and the State of Alarm resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic," explains Fernández de Lezeta, "the population of several species of mosquitoes skyrocketed in Spain. It was not possible to carry out the appropriate control treatments and, in addition, the second homes of many private individuals remained closed and without maintenance by their owners, who were unable to visit them, and natural environments were not managed as required. In addition to these multiplied populations this year, we have had a warm and rainy spring, which is favouring their reproduction. Therefore, this year it is important that we take the control measures that we were unable to carry out last year, otherwise the consequences could be very serious".

In addition to being annoying and causing bites, mosquitoes can pose significant risks to people's health, as they are vectors for the transmission of dangerous diseases. Such is the case of the tiger mosquito, capable of transmitting up to 22 different types of virus, associated with potentially fatal diseases such as the Zika virus, Dengue or Chikungunya, among others. Or Culex pipiens, a potential transmitter of West Nile fever. Diseases that, although until a few years ago were completely alien to us, are unfortunately becoming more and more familiar. In fact, according to the Ministry of Health, from 2014 to 2019, a period in which the tiger mosquito doubled its presence in our country, Spain registered more than 1,800 cases of these three diseases.

In the case of the common mosquito (Culex pipiens) we do not have to go very far back in time to remember the consequences it can generate, as last summer in Andalusia dozens of cases of West Nile fever associated with the bite of this mosquito were recorded, and as a result of which seven people died. This could have been avoided with better maintenance and larval control in the marsh areas, which should have been carried out precisely during the months of national confinement.

ANECPLA insists that collaboration between all social agents is essential and calls for the activation of alert systems by public bodies, responsible for coordinating the control services for these pests, and to offer the general public resources and recommendations to prevent the spread of these insects.

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