Asian tiger mosquito eggs destroyed
A nest of potentially deadly mosquitoes has been found outside Ashford International Truckstop.
Specialists from Public Health England and Ashford Borough Council eradicated eggs and larvae of the aedes albopictus (Asian tiger) mosquito, which is known to carry the potentially fatal diseases of dengue and chikungunya.
This is the second time the species has been found in the UK. However, a spokesman from Public Health England has confirmed that the eggs at the Waterbrook Avenue site posed “no immediate risk to public health”.
Andrew Scott-Clark, director for public health in Kent, said: “This has been a great example of close working between local government and Public Health England to safeguard people in Kent.
“The surveillance system has been highly effective in detecting this invasive species and enabled a swift response from Ashford Borough Council to treat the site and ensure this species does not become established.
“Having, been consulted throughout I can assure people in Kent that this poses no current risk to the public’s health.”
PHE said that the eggs that were removed were not an immediate risk to people as the mosquitoes would only pick up diseases from the local popula- tion. For a bite from the mosquito to be harmful or fatal, it would need to bite an infected person to then pass on the disease and incidences of this in Europe are not common.
The eggs and larvae were discovered through PHE’s mosquito surveillance programme, which monitors 30 UK ports and airports.
The site outside Ashford Truckstop was closely monitored for three days after the eggs were eradicated last week, with all the other traps being checked.
They all came back as negative, with no evidence that the mosquito has become established, but extra precautions have been added to the Ashford site with the addition of enhanced surveillance and more traps.
Darren Smith, general manager of Ashford International Truckstop, said: “Public Health England routinely tests for signs of Asian tiger mosquitoes, a species common to Europe, wherever trucks that have travelled from the Continent congregate.
“During an examination eggs were found and a decision was taken to treat the area.
“We have worked closely with Public Health England and Ashford council over the last few days.
“The truckstop has remained open at all times and the experts assure us there is no risk to public health.”
An Asian tiger mosquito