“Dengue” mosquito identified in northern Portugal

A species of mosquito known to carry the virulent Dengue fever virus has been identified in northern Portugal, but for the time being we’re being told there is nothing to worry about.

A bit like the saying ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer’, one Aedes albopictus (however uncomfortable the name sounds) doesn’t signify an invasion.

And this particular mosquito at least appears to have been virus-free.

Health department specialist Paula Vasconcelos has reiterated that: “We do not have information that the mosquito was infected with any disease that could affect human health”.

Aedes albopictus (common name: Tiger Mosquito) has been identified here and there throughout Europe in the last few years but it has not be responsible for any major dengue outbreaks.

In Madeira, for example, the 2,100 cases of Dengue fever registered between October 2012 and March 2013 were put down to a ‘cousin’, Aedes aegypti – still classified as the primary Dengue vector.

Aedes aegypti has been present in Madeira since 2005, though its ‘activity’ has diminished considerably since the 2012/ 13 outbreak, say reports.

As for Aedes albopictus, RTP explains that health authorities will now be “monitoring and evaluating the situation on a regional and local level, in articulation with central authorities”.

Dengue is transmitted from infected mosquitoes, not from people to people. The disease “generally manifests itself through fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain, vomiting and a rash”, adds RTP.

It rarely develops into a hemorrhagic fever, and equally rarely kills.

Most people recover from infection within days, though they can ‘feel tired’ for up to three months.

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