Deadly disease-carrying mosquitoes could soon become UK plague, expert warns

Deadly mosquitoes could soon establish themselves the UK, a government expert has warned.

The Asian tiger mosquito can carry more than 20 types of virus, including those that cause dengue fever, chikungunya fever, yellow fever, West Nile fever, encephalitis and Zika.

And just one bite from these invasive insects is enough blood for females to lay a whopping 200 eggs.

They are native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia, but have spread across Europe, including the UK, in recent years.

While they typically prefer hotter temperatures than in Britain, Howard Carter, a top bite prevention expert and governmental adviser, fears they could take hold on home soil in the coming years.

"On the continent the two Aedes species are found throughout the warmer climates," he said.

"So it’s very important that everyone who is susceptible to bites protect themselves in order to limit the chances of these invasive species taking hold."

Potential mosquito entry points are closely monitored from June, according to Public Health England, the Sun reports.

Mr Carter added that there are several ways to protect yourself from getting bitten.

"A lot of mosquitoes zero in on the ears, wrists and ankles and they currently have more of a chance to do this because people are scantily dressed," he said.

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"Mosquitoes choose these areas because this is where the skin is thinner and blood vessels are nearer the surface; which is one of the reasons women generally get bitten more than men.

"So, it is a good idea to wash with products that contain citronella, then spray with a PMD-based insect repellent such as incognito.

"If used correctly this will give anyone 100 per cent protection – even for those that are finding that nothing works.

"DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) no longer gives total protection as some mosquitoes have become resistant to it."

However, Mr Carter warned against wearing perfume or aftershave as scents such as lavender they can attract the pests.

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He added: "Be aware that most toiletries and sunscreens, along with most fabric softeners contain scent. Be aware of your odour output.

"Use protection on any exposed skin and spray your clothing as well; mosquitoes can and will bite through fabric, even thick jeans.

"Spray an insect repellent on and around your back door or your summerhouse door before entering, as mosquitoes often lie in wait on the outside of doors and windows and this simple procedure helps to keep them out.

“Ensure you wear light coloured clothing and cover up your skin as much as possible.”

France has suffered a 50% increase in the Aedes mosquito numbers during the coronavirus pandemic. They now cover about three quarters of the country.

"The Aedes aegypti mosquito can carry dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases," Mr Carter said.

"A single bite gives the mosquito enough blood to reproduce 200 eggs, these then turn into larvae (in stagnant water) and then into hungry nymphs.”

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