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Aedes albopictus

Monday 6 February 2006

The mosquito Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus (Skuse) (Diptera: Culicidae), originally indigenous to South-east Asia, islands of the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, has spread during recent decades to Africa, the mid-east, Europe and the Americas (north and south) after extending its range eastwards across Pacific islands during the early 20th century.

The majority of introductions are apparently due to transportation of dormant eggs in tyres.

Ae. albopictus is a competent vector for at least 22 arboviruses. Ae. albopictus could lead to serious outbreaks of arbovirus diseases, notably dengue (all four serotypes), more commonly transmitted by Aedes aegypti.

Many arboviruses are readily transmitted by Ae. albopictus to laboratory animals and birds, and have frequently been isolated from wild-caught mosquitoes of this species, particularly in the Americas.

Ae. albopictus probably serves as a maintenance vector of dengue in rural areas of dengue-endemic countries of South-east Asia and Pacific islands.

Also Ae. albopictus transmits dog heartworm Dirofilaria immitis (Leidy) (Spirurida: Onchocercidae) in South-east Asia, south-eastern U.S.A. and both D. immitis and Dirofilaria repens in Italy.

Despite the frequent isolation of dengue viruses from wild-caught mosquitoes, there is no evidence that Ae. albopictus is an important urban vector of dengue, except in a limited number of countries where Ae. aegypti is absent, i.e. parts of China, the Seychelles, historically in Japan and most recently in Hawaii.

Surveillance must also be maintained on the vectorial role of Ae. albopictus in countries endemic for dengue and other arboviruses (Chikungunya, EEE, Ross River, West nile virus, LaCrosse and other California group viruses), for which it would be competent and ecologically suited to serve as a bridge vector.

References

- Gratz NG. Critical review of the vector status of Aedes albopictus. Med Vet Entomol. 2004 Sep;18(3):215-27. PMID: 15347388

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