Here’s why tiger mosquitoes are worrying a month before the start of the Olympics

Here’s why tiger mosquitoes are worrying a month before the start of the Olympics
Here’s why tiger mosquitoes are worrying a month before the start of the Olympics

Researchers from the Pasteur Institute are concerned about the proliferation of tiger mosquitoes in Île-de-France, while more than 15 million tourists are expected in Paris this summer.

Mathis Thomas

Written on 22/06/2024

With the mixing of numerous international tourists, particularly from countries where the dengue virus is endemic, vigilance is required —
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The fear of a giant cluster hangs over the Paris Olympic Games. However, the era of peaks of Covid-19 contamination is long gone. So what threat can alarm the French health authorities, almost a month to the day before the launch of the Olympics? The culprit is to be found in one of the tiny enemies of summer: the terrible tiger mosquito.

In a study published in the journal Eurosurveillance and relayed this Tuesday, June 18, the Pasteur Institute warns of the danger posed by the tiger mosquito in the run-up to the Paris Olympics. Their results, published in collaboration with the Regional Mosquito Control Agency and the National Reference Center for Arboviruses (Inserm-Irba) demonstrate that this insect, now established in Île-de-France, is responsible for the transmission of five particularly formidable viruses. : chikungunya, Usutu virus, Zika, West Nile virus (or West Nile virus) and dengue.

The tiger mosquito detected in 78 departments

Among these arboviruses (a large family of viruses carried by insects which feed on animal blood), the dengue virus circulates particularly in France. “Between January 1 and April 19, 2024, 1,679 imported cases of dengue fever were recorded in mainland France.“, indicates the Institute in a press release, relaying figures from Public Health France. Or 13 times more than last year over the same period.

Present in 78 departments of France, the tiger mosquito is therefore benefiting from an already favorable environment to continue its proliferation in the coming months. But the concern is all the greater as an international event like the Olympic Games approaches. With the mixing of numerous international tourists, particularly from countries where the dengue virus is endemic and circulating considerably, vigilance is required.

Also read: Can you catch dengue twice?

3 days for West Nile virus, 14 for dengue…

In anticipation of this event, the Pasteur Institute therefore sought to study “the ability of tiger mosquitoes to transmit these five viruses” to determine “the incubation time required for viruses to end up in the mosquito’s salivary glands in sufficient quantity to infect a human“. Or more precisely to specify how quickly it is possible for the mosquito to become contagious, after having bitten an already infected individual.

At 28°C, the West Nile virus needs 3 days before being retransmitted by the mosquito“, the researchers conclude. “This period is between 3 and 7 days for the chikungunya virus and Usutu; and it is between 14 and 21 days for dengue and Zika.“These results make it possible to better frame the fight against the tiger mosquito when the first cases of these viruses are detected.

If a case of dengue fever is detected in Ile-de-France, we now know that disinfestation must take place within 21 days“, confirms Anna-Bella Failloux, head of the Arbovirus and insect vectors unit at the Institut Pasteur, who led this study. “These results make it possible to adjust the firing window so that the approach is optimal.

Pastor Institute

How to protect yourself from the tiger mosquito?

The main way to avoid contracting all these nasty viruses is to protect yourself properly against the tiger mosquito. To do this, nothing could be simpler: wear loose, well-covering clothing. Be aware that fans scare away mosquitoes and that there are skin repellents as well as electric diffusers to place in the rooms of the house to limit the risk of bites.

Despite all these precautions, a tiger mosquito still managed to sneak up to your skin? No worries ! In the majority of cases, the consequences are mild, and the risk of transmission of infectious diseases remains low. On the other hand, if you start to feel an intense fever or joint pain following an injection, consult your doctor quickly.

Dengue: resurgence of cases in France —
The Health Mag – France 5
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