Paris launches attack on tiger mosquitoes carrying invasive disease
Climate change is accelerating the spread of non-native mosquitoes, increasing risks of dengue transmission in Paris.
Authorities in Paris are launching a campaign against tiger mosquitoes that are spreading rapidly across northern Europe.
Health authorities in Paris initiated their first-ever large-scale fumigation operation to combat the alarming proliferation of disease-carrying mosquitoes. The accelerated spread in northern Europe has been attributed to climate change, raising concerns over public health and safety.
The operation took place during the early hours of Thursday in southeast Paris, where roads were temporarily closed and residents were urged to remain indoors. Pest control professionals deployed insecticides across trees, green spaces, and potential mosquito breeding areas.
Tiger mosquitoes, native to southeast Asia, have garnered notoriety for their ability to transmit diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. What was once a familiar sight in tropical regions has become increasingly common in Europe.
Deputy Paris Mayor Anne Souyris, responsible for health policy, emphasized that this is the first operation in Paris, but not in France, as the south of Paris has been affected by tiger mosquitoes for several years.
The targeted area for fumigation extended 150 meters around the residence of an individual in the 13th district of Paris who contracted dengue fever while traveling abroad. This operation aimed to mitigate the risk of dengue transmission following this confirmed case.
A second fumigation operation was slated to take place Thursday night into Friday in the Colombes suburb northeast of central Paris. This followed another instance of dengue fever due to similar circumstances.
City authorities are taking measures to thwart the potential transmission chain in the densely populated Paris region, which is home to approximately 12 million residents.
Tiger mosquitoes that bite individuals importing viruses from abroad can become vectors for these diseases. The Aedes albopictus, or tiger mosquito, originally arrived in southern Europe in the early 2000s and has steadily advanced northward, establishing a presence in countries such as France, Germany, and Switzerland.
Experts have attributed the mosquito's successful proliferation in Europe to climate change, as warmer weather shortens the incubation period for mosquito eggs, while the absence of harsh winters no longer serves to limit their numbers.
Since its initial sighting in France in 2004, tiger mosquitoes have spread to 71 of the country's 96 departments on the mainland, even infiltrating areas close to the northern Channel coast, according to data from the Health Ministry.
Marie-Claire Paty, head of the unit monitoring vector-borne diseases at the public health agency Sante Publique, voiced concerns about the ongoing threat, "We are convinced that it is a risk that is going to get bigger."