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Related informations about the topic Mosquitoes

The mosquito issue

Mosquitoes are both a nuisance and a danger for mankind. According to Der Spiegel (29/2016), they are “the most dangerous animal in the world.” The threat lies in their ability to transmit potentially lethal diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and a continuously growing number of viruses.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2018 there were 228 million cases of malaria worldwide, with an estimated 405 000 deaths. 272 000 (67%) of those occurred in children under five years, making them the most vulnerable group. Malaria is usually found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

But also, in more northern latitudes, wherever there are swamps or calm stretches of water, the occurrence of new mosquito varieties has increased. As a result, health authorities in the United States have regularly reported regional outbreaks of West Nile Fever, since 1999. Also the German Bundesgesundheitsblatt warned of an increased risk of the disease in Germany in 2014, pointing out that a number of cases had already occurred in France, Austria and the Czech Republic,   

While mosquito bites do not cause allergies like wasp or bee stings, people with allergies often suffer stronger symptoms. Therefore, targeted mosquito control is a powerful means of preventing diseases as well as increasing quality of life. Current methods of domestic mosquito control are predominantly based on chemical means.

Controlling and observing the mosquito population has become an important task in many countries. A fact that is visible in the following initiatives.

World Mosquito Day

was initiated in the 1930ies by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and is celebrated every year on 20 August. The day commemorates the British physician Sir Ronald Ross, who discovered that the female mosquito can transfer the Malaria virus to humans in 1897. 

World Mosquito Control Association (WMCA)

The World Mosquito Control Association (WMCA) is a worldwide network of experts and specialists that aims to foster the technical and operational aspects of mosquito control. The WMCA is headquartered in California and coordinates national and regional research activities in Africa, America and Europe. As an umbrella organization it is also responsible for communicating its results to organisations like WHO and UNO. These activities are a means to counteract diseases like malaria at a transnational level. 

Mosquito prevention is also becoming increasingly important in Europe. Here is an overview of some projects:

TIGER (Tri-nationale Initiativgruppe für Entomologie im Oberrheintal – tri-national initiative group for entomology in the upper Rhine valley)

This is an entological initiative of the three countries bordering the upper Rhine valley, i.e. Germany, France and Switzerland. Funded by the EU, the project explores the increasing prevalence of the Asian tiger mosquito in the upper Rhine valley. As the mosquito is a vector for the dengue, chikungunya and zika viruses, this initiative focuses on providing scientific and technical data that will enable preventative measures by the responsible authorities.

Aedes Invasive Mosquito COST Initiative

This European research and technology initiative provides risk management to counter the spread of the Aedes mosquito. For this purpose, it is building a network of partners and institutions across Europe.