Government insists no cause for alarm after tiger mosquitos detected

The tiger mosquito breeds in water in urban areas.
The tiger mosquito breeds in water in urban areas. / SUR
  • The viruses they can transmit are not present in Gibraltar but can be imported by travellers so the public health authority has issued an information sheet for guidance

The public health authority and environmental agency have confirmed that the so-called tiger mosquito, aedes albopictus, has been detected in Gibraltar, but say there is no cause for alarm because the viral diseases which can be transmitted by these mosquitos, such as Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya, are not present.

In January last year the authorities in Gibraltar were advised that this type of mosquito had been found in Algeciras and Malaga and since then they have been monitor the situation, with the help World Health Organisation experts, who visited Gibraltar and gave advice on setting traps and monitoring locations.

In June, it was announced that after nine months of intensive surveillance, the tiger mosquito had not been found in Gibraltar. That changed on Wednesday, when it was confirmed that it had been detected in the urban area for the first time.

The tiger mosquito is not native to Gibraltar and has not been previously found here. It is a domestic species which is common in other countries. This daytime mosquito, which aggressively bites humans, breeds in water in urban areas (water barrels, blocked drains, rainwater gulleys, etc).

Although the viruses it can carry are not present in Gibraltar, they can be imported by travellers returning from an overseas country. The Gibraltar public health authority has published a Factsheet for Travellers, with guidelines for people to follow before travelling, while they are abroad or if they suffer symptoms within three weeks after their return.