What diseases do Asian tiger mosquitoes carry

Vector-borne diseases

What are vector-borne diseases?

Vector-borne diseases are infectious diseases in which the pathogens are caused by vectors such. B. mosquitoes or ticks are transmitted. The vectors can be native or invasive species. The native vectors include z. B. the common wood tick, a type of tick that can transmit Lyme borreliosis or early summer meningoencephalitis. The invasive vectors that are currently the focus of European surveillance activities include mainly exotic mosquito species of the genus Aedes (e.g. Aedes albopictus, Aedes japonicus, Aedes aegypti). These can transmit numerous infectious diseases, which so far have mainly circulated in the sub-tropical and tropical zones. As far as Switzerland is concerned, Chikungunya, Dengue, Zika and West Nile fevers are particularly important. The cases recorded in Switzerland can all be traced back to returnees who have become infected outside of Switzerland.

The Asian tiger mosquito

The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus see tab «Links») was carried away from Southeast Asia to the USA, Latin America, Africa, Europe and to several islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans - mainly due to the globalized trade in scrap tires and lucky bamboo. Since 2003 this mosquito species has also become native to Switzerland, in Ticino. This type of mosquito is a possible carrier of the Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika viruses.

The Asian bush mosquito

Another invasive mosquito species - originally from East Asia - is the Asian bush mosquito (Aedes japonicus see tab «Links»). In recent years it has been carried over to large parts of North America and Central Europe due to the globalized trade in scrap tires. As it is native to the cooler areas of Japan and China, it is well adapted to the temperate climate of Europe. The Asian bush mosquito was first localized in Switzerland in 2007 in the canton of Aargau. Its potential as a vector for West Nile fever is not definitely clear.

Measures in Switzerland

According to the current state of knowledge, the tiger and bush mosquito populations established in Switzerland are not infected with any of the above viruses and therefore do not transmit the diseases.

In Switzerland, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) deals with the possible effects of invasive species on animals, humans and the environment. Accordingly, the FOEN, in cooperation with the mosquito working group of the Canton of Ticino and the Federal Office of Public Health, has developed a concept for combating the tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus and the diseases it transmits in Switzerland. The concept published in June 2011 is intended to enable the Confederation and the cantons to develop targeted and coordinated measures that can be implemented quickly if necessary.

In the summer of 2013, the FOEN, in collaboration with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the Laboratory for Applied Microbiology of the Canton of Ticino, carried out a study on the question of whether the Asian tiger mosquito has already established itself north of the Swiss Alps. The results are summarized in the report on the preliminary project National Program for Monitoring the Tiger Mosquito (see “Documents” tab). The FOEN draws the conclusion from the results that a national program to monitor the tiger mosquito should be drawn up. This is to ensure that any immigration of the tiger mosquito from areas already affected is detected as early as possible so that the cantons can take measures to combat it in good time.

Questions about the tiger or the bush mosquito? Please send inquiries about the tiger or bush mosquito or the spread and control of invasive mosquito species in Switzerland to the FOEN.