ROME – She is aggressive, harassing and she likes cities so much. It is the Japanese mosquito. Having arrived in northern Italy in recent months, it threatens to expand throughout the peninsula and beyond. It brings with it various viruses and diseases, but it is not sure that these find the right environments to develop. In case there would already be a vaccine.
Aedes Japonicus is particularly fond of human blood. It lives in the torrid areas of Southeast Asia, is larger than the tiger mosquito and bites even during the day. Thanks to its ability to withstand long flights, it arrived in Italy. The head of the parasitology laboratory of the Zooprophylactic Institute of Padua, Fabrizio Montarsi, explained to Repubblica that “it is born in the woods, but in Europe and we find it in cities and even in small towns surrounded by nature”.
In the presence of this mosquito, there is also the fear that it can proliferate and expand quickly. It is the third in the ranking of the hundred most invasive species of this insect in the world. It brings with it various diseases, such as Dengue, Yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis.
The latter is detected worldwide in around 50,000 patients per year, with an average of 10,000 deaths. It can cause fever, neurological disorders, up to coma. But according to Montarsi it is not necessary to worry: «In Europe so far we have not encountered any cases. In fact, for the virus to be transmitted, there must be the insect, the virus and the exact same environment in which this transmission is possible, typically that of Southeast Asia ».
As explained on the website of the Veneto region, cases of Japanese headache are mostly asymptomatic and “manifests itself in varying percentages from 1 to 20 cases per thousand infections”. It remains that a booster vaccine can still be administered in Italy from two months of age.
The veterinarian of the Edmund Mach Foundation, Annapaola Rizzoli, invites the population to help prevent the proliferation of this mosquito, as its success is also thanks to “the ability to develop in a series of natural and artificial containers in which there is stagnation of water “. The possible methods are “do not leave open containers that can fill with water, do not pile materials, use mosquito nets, empty and overturn the watering cans, keep the areas where you live clean”. Then there are the more invasive ones, such as insecticides and the sterilization of males. Notwithstanding that mosquitoes still play an important role in the ecosystem, as much as bees, as they carry pollen and are also a source of food for many animals.