Whilst the health authorities have their hands full with the Covid pandemic, they’re not losing sight of potential dangers elsewhere. This is the case with the growing presence of tiger mosquitoes.
Zoonotic diseases are those that pass from animals to humans and the number is growing because of Man’s encroaching presence into their realm.
Amongst them are the West Nile virus, Brucellosis and Lyme Disease, to name just a few but the arrival of the tiger mosquito and warm summer nights is a growing concern.
Their presence was quite limited but they are now found right around the Mediterranean coast of Spain; from Portugal to the French border.
The tiger mosquito is responsible for transporting such viruses as Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue – diseases that were once limited to tropical areas but as climate change upsets the balance, many diseases common to Africa are moving north.
Tiger mosquitos don’t need as much water as common mosquitoes to breed and they are never better at home than around human habitat. In fact, they’re great travelers because when people return from trips, they can be found in their vehicles.
However, the tiger mosquito is not from Africa but from Asia originally and entered Spain via Cataluña, working their way down the coast to Andalucia and then along the length of its coast. The scientific community has worked out that its ‘route’ is along the nation’s autovias, bringing them unwittingly from the east coast (Levante) into some inland areas.
They’re called tiger mosquitoes because of their white stripes on the legs and abdomen but that is not the only difference; normal mosquitos bite when the sun goes down whilst these blighters are active throughout the day. And wearing a long-sleeve dress or shirt won’t stop them because they can bite through the material. Actually, they don’t bite, neither do they sting; they just dissolve your surface skin cell and dip their proboscis into the resultant aperture.
It’s the females that get you because they need the blood for the gestation of their eggs, whereas the males live off nectar and plant sap. Sound like your recent divorce settlement?
At the moment their biggest danger is the sharp stinging sensation when they fly off with one of your arms. Nobody has turned into a zombie yet but they are a syringe just waiting to dump something nasty into your blood stream.