Found in the Algarve, they can spread various diseases such as dengue fever and yellow fever and like to lay their eggs in clean containers filled with water.
The region’s health authority is now calling on locals to curb the spread of Aedes albopictus, commonly known as the tiger mosquito, which transmits yellow fever, dengue fever and zika.
The good news is that none of the mosquitoes discovered in the Algarve had any disease. As regional health delegate Ana Cristina Guerreiro told Lusa news agency, the mosquito must first bite someone infected with a disease in order to spread it.
The special thing about this type of mosquito is that it does not lay eggs in ditches, drains, channels, wetlands, rivers or lakes. Instead, it prefers “clean water” that is in containers around people’s homes or that accumulates elsewhere.
Hence, locals should avoid leaving water-filled containers outside where these mosquitoes could lay their eggs. The aim is to “delay as long as possible” the existence of mosquitoes that spread disease in Portugal.
According to Guerreiro, authorities are raising awareness among council workers, gardeners and landscapers, condominium owners and local residents, as they “can help reduce the spread of the mosquito”.
The health delegate also urged locals to protect themselves from mosquito bites by putting screens on windows and using repellants.
The first time this species of mosquito was discovered in Portugal was in September 2017 in a tire factory in northern Portugal. Since then, authorities across the country have been on high alert.
The mosquito made its way to Loulé in the Algarve in 2018 and was discovered this year in the Gambelas area of Montenegro, Faro, after residents reported “different types of bites”.
“At the moment we have permanently set traps in several places in Faro, Montenegro and Ria Formosa,” said Guerreiro. The perimeter will also be extended to Loulé and Faro airports.
The health authority is also monitoring the possible existence of mosquitoes that are spreading the West Nile virus.