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The Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes Albopictus) Invasion into Australia: A Review of Likely Geographic Range and Changes to Vector-Borne Disease Risk

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Abstract:

Asian tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus (Skuse)) are a highly invasive global pest capable of transmitting a range of viruses to humans, including dengue and chikungunya. In recent years these mosquitoes have invaded temperate regions of developed nations and been responsible for large outbreaks of disease in both tropical and temperate climes. Now widely spread throughout the Torres Strait islands north of Queensland and repeatedly detected at ports, invasion and colonisation of mainland Australia is considered highly likely. In this article, the probable geographic range of the species in Australia and changes to vector-borne disease risk are reviewed. Aedes albopictus is capable of colonising much of Australia's north and east coasts, although predictions vary. This species should flourish in water-filled containers in urban areas and could add significantly to nuisance biting. While dengue transmission in Australia is currently restricted to Queensland, the spread of A. albopictus throughout coastal northern and eastern Australia could extend the range in which dengue transmission may occur. However, any displacement of the existing dengue vector in Queensland (Aedes aegypti (L.)) could ironically decrease dengue risk there given that A. albopictus is a less efficient vector of this virus. Furthermore, such spread could make densely populated eastern Australia susceptible to chikungunya transmission, a virus not yet established here but increasingly detected in arriving travellers. Further work with biologically realistic, mechanistic computer modelling is required to clarify the likely geographic spread of A. albopictus and subsequent disease implications. Such work will allow public health and preventative quarantine strategies to be devised and implemented at high risk areas. KW: Aedes albopictus, invasion, Australia, dengue viruses, chikungunya virus, Ross River virus.

Keywords: AEDES ALBOPICTUS; AUSTRALIA; CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS; DENGUE VIRUSES; INVASION; ROSS RIVER VIRUS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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