SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, March 10. (EUROPE PRESS) –
The Ministry of Health of the Government of the Canary Islands, through the General Directorate of Public Health, reports this Thursday that the Canary Islands Entomological Surveillance System has detected two ‘Aedes aegypti’ mosquito larvae on the island of La Palma.
Specifically, it is a specific finding of the surveillance system activated to prevent the appearance of invasive mosquitoes and the Canary Islands Entomological Surveillance system already detected the presence of this mosquito in Fuerteventura in 2017, managing to definitively eradicate it.
The ‘Aedes Aegypti’ is a vector for the transmission of viral diseases in other geographical areas where these pathologies are endemic, which does not happen in the Canary Islands.
After the sequencing of the larvae that confirm the species in question, it has been verified that it does not contain a virus that carries communicable diseases, however, the detection and surveillance protocol must also be activated.
The presence of invasive mosquito larvae has been detected in a specific area of the island, so surveys of residents will be carried out, as will the inspection and location of possible breeding sites, as well as the placement of a larger number of traps in the area.
The Ministry highlights in a note that it is necessary to highlight the effectiveness of the surveillance system capable of detecting even the larvae and eggs of invasive mosquitoes early, before their presence has been notified or before they have caused bites in the population of the Island.
In this sense, all the necessary information is being compiled to limit, verify and, if necessary, eradicate the presence of this mosquito on the island.
However, it is also important to specify that the presence of the mosquito does not imply the transmission of diseases such as dengue, Zika, yellow fever or chicungunya, since these are not present in the archipelago, except for sporadic imported cases.
The Surveillance and Public Health System team, coordinated by the General Directorate of Public Health in collaboration with the Directorate of the Health Area of La Palma, is already carrying out an initial prevention action, expanding the ratio of placing traps in different points to those established in the usual protocol.
The traps will be installed at the points considered to be at greatest risk, such as greenhouses, banana packing plants, cemeteries and tire dumps, in addition to the port and airport where they are already located by protocol.
ENTOMOLOGICAL SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM
The Canary Islands have had an Entomological Surveillance System since 2011, coordinated by the General Directorate of Public Health in collaboration with the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the University of La Laguna, with the aim of early detection of the possible appearance of mosquitoes invaders.
The objective of the Entomological Surveillance System of the Canary Islands is to detect adult specimens, eggs or larvae of invasive mosquitoes early.
To this end, the following actions are determined: various devices implanted in the main entry points for mosquitoes in the archipelago, such as ports, airports and certain greenhouses, are monitored, a bite surveillance program is activated in all health centers on the island and in pharmacies, by conducting surveys by health professionals and if there is notification of bites, Public Health inspectors analyze each case through a survey, photography of the bite and inspection of the home to search for and identify the mosquito , their larvae or their eggs, if any.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SPECIES
The ‘Aedes’ mosquitoes are black with stripes and smaller than the usual ones in the Canary Islands, they appear more in urban environments and have adapted to reproduce in small water points generated by man.
They usually bite during the day and not at night and their bite generates a strong inflammatory reaction that is accompanied by a great stinging.
Also, they move close to the ground nimbly and no buzzing is heard.
The female mosquitoes are the ones that bite, since they need to feed on blood to reproduce and they also need water (breeding points) to complete their development.
They lay their eggs in the water, from which the larvae will emerge, which will later transform into pupae (both aquatic) and which will finally become mosquitoes.
The mosquitoes that bite humans need to be breeding very close to them and that is why the most effective measure against them is to monitor or eliminate their breeding sites.
Since the beginning of this surveillance program, citizen collaboration has been considered very important to identify possible invasive mosquitoes and the elimination of their breeding sites.
EXPERIENCE IN THE SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM
Vector-borne diseases are a priority in the General Directorate of Public Health of the Canary Islands Health Service due to their global emergency and re-emergence.
The Canary Islands have been working for years on the detection of disease-transmitting mosquitoes and in 2008 the Canary Islands joined the Transnational Cooperation Program with the aim of creating risk maps for mosquito-borne diseases.
This incorporation led to the development of the first study, carried out by the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health, of vectors that transmit tropical diseases that was carried out in the Canary Islands since 1987, and resulted in the presence of resident species already known in our islands, without detecting the presence of ‘Aedes aegypti’, a mosquito that transmits dengue and other tropical diseases such as chikungunya.