Imported from Asia and vector of the dengue virus (but also of chikungunya and zika, which are tropical diseases), the tiger mosquito appeared for the first time in France in 2004, in Menton. It has since been identified in 67 French departments.
Since August 23, the date of discovery of a case of autochthonous dengue in Saint-Jeannet, 21 new cases have been identified in this same sector. The authorities are on alert.
Global warming in question
“Since 2016 we have had a surge in dengue cases, linked to climate changenotes Professor Michel Carles, head of the infectious and tropical diseases department at the Nice University Hospital during a press conference by the Paca regional health agency on Wednesday. Today we are in tropical conditions” he adds, based on a study in the scientific journal EBioMedicine.
According to the authors of this study, global warming boosts the vectorial capacity of the tiger mosquito, that is to say its ability to transmit a virus from one subject to another.
Ahead of Athens, Malaga and Rome
According to researchers’ projections, Nice would be, within 48 years (2070), the city in Europe where the spread of dengue would be the strongestahead of Athens, Malaga and Rome.
“The tiger mosquito has a great ability to adapt. It adapts to temperatures of 10 degrees. It was said that it was not found above 600 meters in altitude, but it is changing” notes Professor Carles.
“The eggs are resistant to drought. If, during high heat like the ones we experienced this summer, the adult populations drop, as soon as it rains, wherever they are in contact with watering for example, the eggs hatch” adds Jean-Claude Mouret, operational coordinator at the Interdepartmental Agreement for mosquito control on the Mediterranean coast.