Tiger mosquitoes in Almeria

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Flickr, frankieleon

THE tiger mosquito has colonised most of Spain’s Mediterranean coast in under a decade.

Almeria has not escaped and the black and white tigerstriped insects have been located in Huercal de Almeria, Punta Entinas-Sabina, Almerimar and Roquetas.

Their bite is bigger and more painful than Spain’s native species and can transmit tropical diseases like chikungunya and dengue. Some weeks ago a Gandia (Valencia) resident was believed to have contracted chikungunya from a tiger mosquito but the results of tests were later found to be false.

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The mosquitoes are not native to Europe but were first detected in Albania in 1979, reaching Sant Cugat del Valles (Barcelona) in 2004, almost certainly aboard a lorry. According to Catalan investigators they do not remain in wetlands but are closely associated with humans and attracted to carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles.

They travel only 500 metres in their lifetime and to have reached Malaga in 11 years they must have done so in cars, lorries and public transport.

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