Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, has for some time been identified as an invasive species that could potentially arrive in the United Kingdom. Until late September 2016 there had been no confirmed reports or sightings of this species; at which point surveillance, overseen by Public Health England (PHE), confirmed a number of eggs in Kent. Enhanced monitoring was instigated in the area and no further evidence of this mosquito was found. Ae. albopictus has undergone a significant global expansion accelerated by human activities and the symptoms of climate change. It is now listed as one of the top 100 invasive species by the Invasive Species Specialist Group and is considered to probably be the most invasive of all mosquito species.
Ae. albopictus feeds on a wide range of hosts. It is known to be an aggressive biting nuisance, with the potential to become a serious health threat as a bridge vector of a number of zoonotic pathogens to humans. For example, Ae. albopictus is a known vector of chikungunya virus, dengue virus and dirofilariasis. A number of other viruses affecting human health have also been isolated from Ae. albopictus in different countries. Moreover, its recent involvement in the localised transmission of chikungunya in Italy (2007) and France (2014) and dengue in France and Croatia (2010) highlights the extreme importance of continually monitoring for this highly invasive species in the UK.
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