Invasive mosquitoes that can transmit exotic pathogens, monitored at “Avram Iancu” International Airport in Cluj

The University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (USAMV) in Cluj-Napoca, in collaboration with the Avram Iancu International Airport Cluj, has launched a pilot project, for the first time nationally, to examine the risk of introducing exotic mosquitoes and, implicitly, agents pathogens transmitted by them to the airport / aircraft.

The main objective of the study is the active surveillance of invasive mosquitoes inside the airport, which is essential for the success of a control program for native or invasive mosquito species.

The project is carried out by the Discipline of Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases within the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of USAMV Cluj-Napoca, through Prof. Dr. Andrei Daniel Mihalca and Drd. Cintia Horvath.

“In Europe, the growth of trade and transport of goods and the increased movement of people have dramatically facilitated the import of invasive mosquito species and the pathogens transmitted by them. In particular, the trade in used tires and decorative plants has been a major contributor to the introduction of the Asian tiger mosquito into Europe. Another major vector for introducing mosquitoes are aircraft, which can inadvertently bring unwanted invasive mosquitoes. Sometimes luggage carried in aircraft can harbor invasive mosquitoes that come from an endemic area abroad and can be infected with exotic pathogens, such as Chikungunya, Dengue or Zika viruses. In Romania, invasive mosquitoes have been reported in several areas, such as Bucharest, Constanța, Timișoara, Arad, Oradea, but mosquitoes can also arrive from Italy or Greece, as well as many other areas. The project is a national premiere and we thank the airport management for the unconditional support provided “, explained drd. Cintia Horvath.

The program has already started, and so far no invasive mosquitoes have been detected inside the airport, but it must also be taken into account that the number of flights and passengers is far below normal, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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