Detection of exotic mosquito species (Diptera: Culicidae) at international airports in Europe
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
In Europe, the air-borne accidental introduction of exotic mosquito species (EMS) has been demonstrated using mosquito surveillance schemes at Schiphol International Airport (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). Based upon these findings and given the increasing volume of air transport movements per year, the establishment of EMS after introduction via aircraft is being considered a potential risk. Here we present the airport surveillance results performed by the Centre for Monitoring of Vectors of the Netherlands, by the Monitoring of Exotic Mosquitoes (MEMO) project in Belgium, and by the Public Health England project on invasive mosquito surveillance. The findings of our study demonstrate the aircraft mediated transport of EMS into Europe from a wide range of possible areas in the world. Results show accidental introductions of Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus, as well as exotic Anopheles and Mansonia specimens. The findings of Ae. albopictus at Schiphol airport are the first evidence of accidental introduction of the species using this pathway in Europe. Furthermore, our results stress the importance of the use of molecular tools to validate the morphology-based species identifications. We recommend monitoring of EMS at airports with special attention to locations with a high movement of cargo and passengers.