Although the recent explosion of Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika in the Americas has raised the level of concern, for years public health agencies in Europe have worried that someday old arboviral threats - like Malaria, Dengue, and Yellow Fever - could one day return to part of Europe.
In 2010 the ECDC's journal Eurosurveillance devoted a special edition to exactly that threat in Vector-borne diseases - December 2010.
Almost on cue, in 2011, in ECDC: Local Malaria Acquisition In Greece we saw additional reasons for concern with the return of a scourge that had – due to diligent mosquito control measures over the past 50 years – been all but eliminated across Europe.
In 2012 the ECDC released a cautionary report on the Status & Importance Of Invasive Mosquito Breeds In Europe and in 2014 they announced a new joint ECDC-EFSA project called “VectorNet”.
Last August, we looked at the latest ECDC Vector Maps: Invasive Ticks, Mosquitoes & Sand Flies. Maps that - with the increasing arrival of viremic travelers carrying Zika, Dengue, CHKV, and Malaria - take on even greater importance.
Today the World Health Organization has released (in multiple languages) a report on the risks of Zika spreading in the European Region, where they warn the risks should not be underestimated.
Follow the link below and download the full report.
The largest outbreak of Zika virus disease ever recorded began in the continental Americas in 2015. Since then, the geographical distribution of Zika virus has steadily widened, and local transmission has been reported broadly in the Region of the Americas.
In the European Region, the risk of local Zika virus transmission is low during the winter season, as the mosquito is still inactive. In late spring and summer, the risk for spread of Zika virus increases. While A. aegypti is the primary Zika vector, A. albopictus, which is present in 20 European countries, has been shown to be able to transmit Zika virus and remains a potential vector for its spread.
European countries, especially those in which A. aegypti and A. albopictus are present, need to be well prepared to protect their populations from the spread of Zika virus disease and its potential neurological complications, including microcephaly.