Attack of the ‘bone breaking’ Asian tiger mosquitoes which are invading the UK

The UK could be under attack by swarms of Asian tiger mosquitoes carrying a potentially fatal virus so painful it’s been compared to breaking bones.

Experts have warned that dengue fever is “on our doorstep” as the immortal bugs are managing to survive the winters due to climate change. The fever starts with flu-like symptoms such as high temperature, body aches and nausea but can become serious with bleeding noses, persistent vomiting and severe pain. In some cases, it can be deadly.

It first gained notoriety in the 1700s when it was dubbed the “break bone fever” due to the intense pain it inflicts on muscles and joints. In Europe, cases have more than doubled in the last 13 years.

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The Asian tiger mosquito – the most aggressive of its kind – have now established homes in 13 countries including France, Germany and Italy.

The nasty critters are to blame for the rise in dengue fever
The nasty critters are to blame for the rise in dengue fever

From 2010 to 2021 there were 73 cases of dengue, but in 2022 alone a staggering 71 cases were reported followed by 130 last year.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) also warned that international travel will further increase the risk of more European outbreaks.

Asian tiger mosquitoes have already set up home in the South East of the UK including London, forcing the government to put contingency plans in place.‌

Paris and Italy have already had to fumigate major airports earlier this year to prevent the spread of the dangerous critter.

Some cases can be fatal
Some cases can be fatal

In densely populated cities, the transmission can be extremely rapid with mosquitoes moving between many individuals in a very short space of time.

‌These mosquito species can carry other viruses too, including chikungunya and Zika virus, which, until recently, were typically only present in parts of Africa, Asia and the Americas.

‌Bite prevention expert Howard Carter said “It is more important this summer than ever before that UK travellers take insect repellent with them. Even if they’ve never needed or used it before.

“A shocking report undertaken by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine states that 74% of British holidaymakers do not take insect repellent on their travels.

“This is the main reason Britain now has the highest incidence of imported mosquito-borne disease in Europe.”

‌He added: “This is now not just about ignoring a few itchy bites, we need the use of insect repellent to become a summer standard, even here in the UK – much as you would use a sunscreen, apply before going out, keep insect repellent in your backpack and reapply regularly here and abroad.”

People are also urged to remove stagnant water from gardens or balconies, where mosquitoes can breed, and use repellent as well as screens on windows and doors.

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