New Mosquito Species, Aedes Japonicus Japonicus, Appears in Slovakia

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illustration picture (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, June 11 (TASR) – Monitoring of invasive species of mosquito in 2020 showed that a new species – the originally Asian mosquito Aedes japonicus japonicus – had appeared in Slovakia, Zuzana Vetrecin Ceplikova, PR manager of the Biomedical Centre of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) told TASR on Friday.

The occurrence of this species not only affects biodiversity, but can also have a medical impact, as invasive mosquitoes are carriers of a wide range of pathogens. This species could transmit viruses that have not yet been native to Slovakia, such as Japanese encephalitis, chikungunya, dengue and Zika, although the main risk for Slovakia in terms of the transmission of pathogens concerns those that have already been circulating within the country, such as the West Nile virus, which has been observed mainly in the south of Slovakia.

“We’ve been monitoring the occurrence of invasive species of mosquito in Slovakia in cooperation with the Zvolen-based Technical University, Presov University, Comenius Univerity’s Science Faculty based in Bratislava, SAV’s Plant Biology and Biodiversity Centre and the Kosice-based Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy University. One very important element in our monitoring concerns sites of possible “import-introduction” such as highways and airports,” explained Viktoria Cabanova, SAV Biomedical Centre’s expert on mosquitoes.

Identifying the hatcheries of this mosquito species is important when selecting sites for monitoring, said Cabanova. In new territories, the mosquitoes are able to lay their eggs in any water container, which is why they are often nicknamed container species, she added.

In order to limit the spread of the new species, Cabanova recommends keeping tabs on all water containers, such as buckets, barrels, gutters, flower pots and fountains. According to her, it should be enough to change the water in them once a week or to cover them so that the females will be unable to lay their eggs there.