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Tiger mosquitoes are now hitch-hiking to Belgium

Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The originally Asian ‘Tiger Mosquitoes’ are travelling on the backs of cars to Belgium, according to a recent discovery from the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp.

Last summer Tiger Mosquitoes inhabited five different locations in Belgium. This year, scientists are yet to detect any Tiger Mosquitoes in Belgium, but recent reports of the insect “hitching a ride” on Belgian-bound cars have arisen, according to VRT.

“The tiger mosquitoes we saw last year we found on car parks along motorways leading from France and Germany.  We suspect the mosquitoes backpack on these vehicles from areas in France and Germany where moths are established,” said Wim Van Bortel from ITM.

“It’s new for us,” the scientist continued, “It’s the first time the insects have reached Belgium in this way.  With the holidays almost upon us, we’re quite likely to see a repeat.”

Belgians however, should not be alarmed. “The presence of a few tiger and other exotic mosquitoes in Belgium does not necessarily mean that we are in for virus outbreaks, as the mosquitoes themselves do not present any danger,” a report from ITM assured.

The presence of the Tiger Mosquito in Belgium has been monitored by ITM closely, and whilst the group found no mosquitoes to have survived the winter, recent reports of hitch-hiking insects requires the group to remain vigilant. “Careful surveillance of these populations is a must in order to assess the risk of disease transmission,” stated Van Bortel.

Madeleine Fletcher
The Brussels Times

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