The health ministry has warned that Aedes Aegypt mosquitos – often referred to as the yellow fever mosquito – have been identified in Cyprus, mainly in the area of Dromolaxia, near Larnaca.
The insect is known to spread yellow fever viruses, dengue fever, and Zika fever, among others.
The ministry on Thursday urged members of the public to be vigilant and do their utmost to reduce unnecessary points of exposed water collection which may serve as breeding grounds for the mosquito.
It detailed that a small number of the mosquitos were uncovered following a bicommunal technical health committee project. That prompted a coordinated effort to be launched from the health services, local authorities and other relevant officials to eliminate the mosquito population.
The health services explained that, should further concerns arise, they will carry out door-to-door information campaigns between October 10 and October 23. If necessary, they will then proceed with extermination campaigns.
Expert entomologists have previously stated that Cyprus’ location in the Mediterranean means it is sentinel for invasive mosquitos moving towards mainland Europe.
Other nations, such as the US, sometimes use genetically modified ‘Ae. Aegypti’ mosquitos to control other mosquitoes in a community.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “in the United States, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authorised use of OX5034 GM ‘Ae. Aegypti’ mosquitoes for release in counties in Florida and Texas.”
“This EPA authorization allows local mosquito control programs to evaluate how effective GM mosquitoes are in reducing ‘Ae. Aegypti’ mosquitoes in areas where they have been released.”