(CTN News) – Global warming has put Portugal on alert for dengue, zika, and chikungunya, all potentially deadly diseases.
According to Correio da Manh, mosquito eggs with the potential to transmit these diseases were found in Mértola in January, according to an interview with professor of infection biology Jaime Nina.
According to Dr Nina, mosquito eradication has become a common cause of negligence throughout southern Europe.
In the past, gambusia fish have been released into dams and reservoirs in order to control malaria outbreaks by eating mosquito larvae (long before global warming was a concern).
A reduction in mosquito populations can also be achieved by the use of petroleum, according to him.
Many places, however, make a lot of efforts not only to deal with the situation as it is, but also to be proactive rather than reactive.
According to Dr Nina, 2,000 people were affected by dengue outbreak in Madeira in 2012. It has never been possible to eradicate the mosquito, he informed CM.
In recent weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) has renewed its perennial warning, citing “isolated cases” identified in Italy.
Among the greatest challenges in controlling mosquitoes is the fact that mosquito eggs can remain dry while traveling in containers for months, hatching within a few hours of entering a new country after coming into contact with water, says Raman Velayudhan, WHO director for tropical diseases.
Then comes the mosquito, which becomes most active once the temperature rises above 17 degrees Celsius.
There are several symptoms of dengue, zika, and chikungunya, including high fever, pain in the joints of the feet and hands, exhaustion, and inadequate appetite.
There is a possibility of treating these diseases if they are caught in time, however, in the case of zika, they can have devastating effects on babies who are developing in the womb.
While this is taking place, a pioneering project involving the Ricardo Jorge public health institute and ARS Algarve (regional health authority) has been working on eliminating the mosquitoes that transmit these tropical diseases (Aedes albopictus).
As an invasive species, Aedes albopictus is most commonly associated with outbreaks of dengue, zika and chikungunya. It has already been reported in different areas of the Algarve (including Loulé, Faro/ Gambelas, and Tavira).
In a report late last year, it was reported that Dengue mosquitoes had been sterilised by radiation in a laboratory factory in Italy and were being transported by air to Portugal as part of a pilot study which involved releasing non-biting beneficial mosquitoes (sterile males) that, when mated with females, prevent the growth of new Dengue mosquitoes.
The objective of the project was to determine whether this biological control method suppresses the natural population of mosquitoes and thus reduces the risk of disease outbreaks.
The project, however, appears to have received very little new information since the initial stories were published.