The Sciensano public health institute is launching a survey to find out what Belgians know about mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit, reported L'Avenir.
Sciensano and the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) have increasingly highlighted illnesses relating to mosquitoes – particularly tiger mosquitoes. The goal is to identify the insects as soon as they arrive in Belgium in order to prevent them from staying and transmitting viral diseases such as dengue or the Zika virus.
Though the risk of local transmission is low, other European countries such as France and Italy have observed more frequent infection outbreaks. For Belgium, it is key to have information on where tiger mosquitoes are found and to monitor human infections, especially if they are returning from a trip.
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Sciensano will launch a questionnaire open to the public until the end of October. This will assess what the public knows about mosquitoes and the diseases they can transmit and should help health authorities make appropriate recommendations.
The campaign will explain that tiger mosquitoes are active during the day, with a peak in the late afternoon and early evening, biting mainly outdoors. Anopheles mosquitoes (the type which can transmit malaria) bite at dusk and at night.
The citizen mosquito surveillance platform allows people to report exotic mosquitoes in Belgium.