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First detection of Aedes japonicus in Spain: an unexpected finding triggered by citizen science

AuthorsEritja, Roger; Ruiz-Arrondo, Ignacio; Delacour-Estrella, Sarah; Schaffner, Francis; Álvarez-Chachero, Jorge; Bengoa, Mikel; Puig, Mariàngels ; Melero-Alcíbar, Rosario; Oltra, Aitana ; Bartumeus, Frederic
KeywordsAsian bush mosquito
West Nile virus
Citizen Science
Issue Date23-Jan-2019
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationParasites & Vectors 12(1): 53 (2019)
Abstract[Background] Aedes japonicus is an invasive vector mosquito from Southeast Asia which has been spreading across central Europe since the year 2000. Unlike the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) present in Spain since 2004, there has been no record of Ae. japonicus in the country until now.
[Results] Here, we report the first detection of Ae. japonicus in Spain, at its southernmost location in Europe. This finding was triggered by the citizen science platform Mosquito Alert. In June 2018, a citizen sent a report via the Mosquito Alert app from the municipality of Siero in the Asturias region (NW Spain) containing pictures of a female mosquito compatible with Ae. japonicus. Further information was requested from the participant, who subsequently provided several larvae and adults that could be classified as Ae. japonicus. In July, a field mission confirmed its presence at the original site and in several locations up to 9 km away, suggesting a long-time establishment. The strong media impact in Asturias derived from the discovery raised local participation in the Mosquito Alert project, resulting in further evidence from surrounding areas.
[Conclusions] Whilst in the laboratory Ae. japonicus is a competent vector for several mosquito-borne pathogens, to date only West Nile virus is a concern based on field evidence. Nonetheless, this virus has yet not been detected in Asturias so the vectorial risk is currently considered low. The opportunity and effectiveness of combining citizen-sourced data to traditional surveillance methods are discussed.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-019-3317-y
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