4 tiger mosquitoes and 39 larvae were found in Belgium in 2013 and 2014, after the setting up of a monitoring scheme for the Asian insect, revealed Isra Deblauwe, biologist at the Antwerp Institute of tropical medicine (IMT), on Monday. They were discovered in establishments dealing with used tyres and “lucky bamboo” in the port of Antwerp and surrounding areas, as well as in Western Flanders. The tiger mosquito - which carries the dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever viruses – only appeared recently in Europe, although it is already well-established in the south of the continent, all the way north to the Rhone-Alps region in France.
The monitoring scheme is financed by Afsca (Federal agency for the safety of the food chain), and will start again next week, with 12 ports of entry (ports, airports, firms dealing in used tyres and bamboo, etc.) monitored by 2 IMT employees. It will last from mid-April to mid-November. “There is an increased risk of the tiger mosquito establishing itself here obviously, because of the rise in international transportation of goods, and because our winters are getting warmer and warmer, but our scheme aims mainly at prevention; there is no real risk of infection as yet. The checks mean to slow down the establishment of the tiger mosquito in Belgium,” highlights Isra Deblauwe.
De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad reported that Health minister Maggid De Block and some experts worry that the tiger mosquito is settling down in Belgium.