NewsMosquito alert: Europe battles new virus threat with first vaccine

Mosquito alert: Europe battles new virus threat with first vaccine

Mosquitoes can be a real nuisance. Mosquito control.
Mosquitoes can be a real nuisance. Mosquito control.
Images source: © Licensor | Robert Stachnik/REPORTER

7:29 AM EDT, June 30, 2024

They're already here and are a real plague. We're talking about mosquitoes. In Europe, they can spread dangerous diseases, and the European Commission has just approved the first-ever vaccine for a viral tropical disease transmitted by mosquitoes.

A heatwave has arrived, bringing mosquitoes with it. Some cities are tackling this problem on a large scale.

Mosquitoes spread dangerous diseases

The Commission approved the first-ever vaccine for chikungunya fever – a viral tropical disease transmitted by mosquitoes – on Friday. Although chikungunya is not endemic in the EU, the effects of climate change have led to an increased presence of mosquitoes that carry serious diseases in Europe.

"Infected mosquitoes pose new dangerous potential public health challenges, and we are determined to use all available tools to counter these threats and protect our citizens," said Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

In a recent report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the presence of Aedes albopictus mosquitoes was confirmed in 13 EU countries, and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were found in Cyprus; both of these species can contribute to the spread of chikungunya, Zika, dengue, and yellow fever viruses.

The EU's authorization of the chikungunya vaccine applies to adults aged 18 and over. Member states unanimously approved the vaccine following an assessment by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

To further reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases spreading in Europe, the Commission has announced funding of 500,000 euros (about 531,000 USD) for a pilot project to eliminate Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Cyprus.

Plague in Spain

Besides suffering from a drought for several months, Catalans have faced a new plague – insects dangerous to human health, such as cockroaches, migratory ticks, and tiger mosquitoes. Experts from the Catalan Association of Environmental Health Companies (ADEPAP) have warned about their presence.

According to studies by this organization, the excessive presence of cockroaches in this northeastern region of Spain is due to the high air temperatures that began in April.

"The population of these insects will certainly increase in the summer," predicted ADEPAP Vice President Andreu Garcia, adding that dry and warm weather favors their reproduction, just as it does for another plague in Catalonian municipalities – migratory ticks.

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