Eggs of mosquito capable of carrying the Zika virus found in the UK
Fifteen homeowners in the Kent area were hand delivered letters on Friday telling them that a small number of Asian Tiger Mosquito eggs had been found near their properties.
The mosquito is native to Southeast Asia but has spread to other countries through the transport of goods, and has been known to share viruses including yellow fever and the zika virus.
The eggs are believed to have been found at an M20 motorway services, meaning they could have come over in lorries from the continent.
Shepway District Council commissioned Cannon Pest Control to visit the properties and spray areas in people’s gardens that may contain the eggs.
Samantha Cox, who received the letter on Friday, said: “I was suspicious at first as it wasn’t formally addressed to me, just ‘The Occupier.’
“I expected them to come round in big suits and great big spray guns but it was all very quiet.
“It’s just something they have to do. They sprayed the water butt and anything that might collect water.
“They said the spray creates an oil film and suffocates the eggs.
“I don’t mind them doing it if they’re careful. We’ve got to protect our own species but you have to be careful about what they are spraying into the water.”
The letter, from the Shepway District Council, said that Public Health England had recommended the treatment to eradicate the mosquito, its eggs and larvae as a precaution.
David Monk, Leader of Shepway District Council, said: “Following the discovery of some eggs of a mosquito that is not normally native to the UK, Public Health England has recommended that the council follow standard practice and carry out a treatment as a precaution to prevent the mosquito establishing.
“There is no risk to people’s health or their family or pets from either the presence of the eggs or the eradication.
“The council’s pest control contractor will carry out a spray treatment of anywhere where the mosquito eggs may have been laid.
“Once the identified area is sprayed, Public Health England will continue to monitor as part of its routine surveillance.”
Jolyon Medlock, head of medical entomology at Public Health England said,“We regularly monitor mosquito species and look for any which are new to the UK.
“Through these activities we identified a small number of eggs from the Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger) mosquito in one trap in Kent.
“Enhanced monitoring of the area was implemented and no further evidence of this mosquito has so far been found.
“As a precaution we advised the local authority to use insecticide as a means of control and will continue to monitor the situation closely through our surveillance system.
“There is currently no risk to public health in the UK.”
He added: “Despite a wide distribution of Aedes albopictus in Europe there have been no reports of Zika transmission by Aedes albopictus. The primary vector for Zika is Aedes aegypti.”