Tiger mosquitoes: recommendations
As temperatures begin to climb and the mosquitoes return, a lot of people are wondering whether these small flying insects, feared by so many, could transmit COVID-19 through a simple bite.
According to the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), the answer is no:
COVID-19 is not one of the diseases transmitted by the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus)
- How to recognise a tiger mosquito
The tiger mosquito measures under one centimetre. It is easily recognisable by the black and white stripes on its body and legs, and its completely black wings. It flies quite slowly, and is therefore relatively easy to squash. Finally, since the tiger mosquito is active during the daytime, it is important to protect yourself throughout the day, too.
The mosquito is capable of transmitting viral infections such as Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika.
- Risk prevention
Preventing an epidemic of Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika as a result of an imported case (a person who has been in an endemic area and returns with the infection) is therefore based on the following recommendations:
1- Eradicating mosquitoes from public spaces and building sites.
2- Reducing the number of mosquitoes by eliminating bodies of stagnant water on terraces and in gardens (small dishes, pots, vases, drains, etc.).
3- Repelling mosquitoes using suitable sprays for the skin (adapted to repel Aedes albopictus) or mosquito diffusers and coils.
4- Using mosquito nets on windows and beds.
5- Identifying imported cases of Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika at an early stage so that public health measures can be implemented immediately.
None of these diseases are directly transmissible between humans, but if a mosquito bites an infected person, it can suck up the virus and transfer it to a healthy person via a new bite.
It is impossible, however, for the insects to transmit COVID-19 through their bites.
This has been stated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and ANSES confirms that “no transmission by a mosquito of the virus that causes COVID-19, nor of any other virus from the coronavirus family, has been demonstrated.”
In addition, a new study published by the Italian National Institute of Health on 26 June showed that mosquitoes – whether the common mosquito or the tiger mosquito – cannot transmit the coronavirus.
- Chikungunya, Dengue or Zika: worrying symptoms
Chikungunya or dengue infection is suspected if the patient develops a sudden fever above 38.5°C and at least one of the following symptoms: headache, joint pain, muscle pain, lumbago or pain behind the eyes. Zika infection is suspected if a rash appears on the skin (with or without a fever) and at least two of the following symptoms are present: conjunctivitis, joint pain, muscle pain. A blood test is used to confirm the diagnosis.
- What to do if you suspect one of these diseases
If you suspect one of these diseases, while awaiting an emergency appointment with your doctor or the Princess Grace Hospital Emergency Unit, it is strongly recommended that the patient and those close to them use a repellent that is effective against Aedes albopictus.