Paris Takes Action to Eliminate Tiger Mosquitoes and Prevent Disease Spread

2023-09-01 06:09:45

For the first time, health authorities in Paris have disinfected areas of the French capital, to kill off “tiger mosquitoes,” carriers of diseases believed to have accelerated their advance across northern Europe due to climate change.

Roads were closed in Paris, and people were told to stay indoors in the southeast of the city on Thursday morning, as authorities sprayed insecticides on trees, green spaces, and other potential mosquito breeding areas.

Such sightings occur frequently in tropical cities, but they are becoming increasingly common in Europe with the spread of “tiger mosquitoes”, which can carry dengue and Zika viruses, from their native habitat in Southeast Asia.

“It was the first campaign in Paris, but not the first in France. The south of France has been affected by tiger mosquitoes for several years,” Anne Soiris, the deputy mayor of Paris in charge of health policy, told BFM television.

Two cases of dengue fever

And the regional health authority of the capital announced that the targeted area for sterilization includes the home of a person who contracted dengue fever while traveling, and added: “These operations are conducted to reduce the risk of dengue transmission after the case is discovered.”

Authorities are planning further disinfections, after another person contracted dengue after returning to Paris from a foreign trip.

Paris is trying to cut off a possible chain of transmission in the city of about 12 million people.

What is a “tiger mosquito”?

Tiger mosquitoes, also known as Aedes albopictus, arrived in southern Europe in the first decade of this century.

Insect swarms quickly head north, settling in France, Germany and Switzerland.

If a tiger mosquito bites a person carrying a virus, it becomes a carrier of the disease.

Health experts say this type of insect has thrived in Europe partly because of climate change, as warm weather has shortened the incubation period for its eggs, while winter is no longer cold enough to kill it.

After it was first discovered in France in 2004, it is now present in 71 out of 96 French departments, even in areas near the northern Channel coast, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

Last April, the head of the infectious disease control unit at the Public Health Authority, Marie-Claire Paty, told “Agence France Presse”: “We are convinced that the danger will increase.”

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