Analysis of the potential for survival and seasonal activity of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in the United Kingdom

Jolyon Medlock*, David Avenell, Iain Barrass, Stephen Leach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The international trade in used tires, coupled with the ability to lay non-desiccating eggs, has enabled Aedes albopictus (Skuse) (Diptera: Culicidae) to travel and establish on new continents, including North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean, Australasia, Africa, and Europe. Concerns have been raised over its potential role in the transmission of arboviruses and Dirofilaria nematodes. Following importation into northerly latitudes, photoperiodically-induced egg diapause enables establishment of Ae. albopictus, and a number of abiotic factors determine the subsequent seasonal activity. The United Kingdom (U.K.) imports over 5 million used tires annually, and this seems the most likely route by which Ae. albopictus would be imported. The anthropophilic and container-breeding nature of Ae. albopictus could cause an urban human biting nuisance and the potential for involvement in (human and veterinary) disease transmission cycles needs to be assessed. This paper addresses the likelihood for importation of Ae. albopictus into the U.K. and assesses, using a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based model, the ability for Ae. albopictus to establish, and the likely seasonal activity. It also reviews its possible role as a potential disease vector in the U.K.. The model predicts that abiotic risk factors would permit establishment of Ae. albopictus throughout large parts of lowland U.K., with at least four to five months of adult activity (May-September), being more prolonged in the urban centers around London and the southern coastal ports. Pre-emptive surveillance of possible imported Ae. albopictus, through a targeted approach, could prevent the establishment of this exotic mosquito and mitigate any subsequent human and animal health implications for the U.K., either now or in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-304
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Vector Ecology
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006

Keywords

  • Aedes albopictus
  • Ecology
  • Exotic vector
  • Mosquitoes
  • United Kingdom

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