photo credit: James Gathany/CDC (public domain)

It’s coming some time and maybe…

The Asian tiger mosquito originates in hot and muggy South East Asia. But international trade, tourism and (increasingly) climate change will enable the tropical disease-carrying insect to establish itself in northern Europe, including the UK.

Reports last September from the US told of how the smaller, but more aggressive Asian tiger mosquito was causing problems in the states of California, Texas, Florida and Hawaii; and cities including Memphis, New Orleans and Washington DC.

In Europe, the Asian tiger has already encroached upon parts of Italy, Spain, southern France, the Balkans and even The Netherlands. Italy experienced an outbreak of chikungunya fever, brought back by a tourist who visited India. Dengue cases have also been documented in Germany and France. As the climate changes, these outbreaks are predicted to become more frequent.

From the Independent:

Computer simulations of how the climate in Europe has changed over the past half-century and of how it is likely to change in the coming decades suggest that conditions across wider areas of northern Europe will become more favourable for the mosquito, says a study by scientists from Liverpool University and the Government’s Health Protection Agency.

Those countries whose climates are becoming wetter and hotter are the ones at risk, while areas becoming drier, like southern Spain, are turning less hospitable to the Asian tiger mosquito.

But it’s already established a foothold in Europe.

From an AFP article:

As of last December, the mosquito was present in more than 15 countries, from southern Spain to parts of Greece and Turkey, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

I’ll make sure I pack a good repellent on my next holiday.