A tiger mosquito, an invasive species from Asia which can carry tropical diseases, has been discovered in the southwestern canton of Valais for the first time.
Scientists confirmed the presence of a specimen in the town of Monthey. Inspections of sites that could contain larvae have been stepped up, the cantonal authorities said in a statementexternal link on Wednesday. Targeted action has also been initiated to destroy any potential colonies.
The specimen found in Monthey does not mean that the species has taken up a permanent presence in the canton, although this may be the case in the near future, say the authorities.
Originally from southeast Asia, the tiger mosquito has been spreading across Europe. It was first seen in Switzerland in the southern canton of Ticino in 2003. It was discovered north of the Alps in 2007. Its presence has also been confirmed in several other parts of the country, including most recently in Geneva.
In other parts of the world these mosquitoes can carry tropical diseases such as Zika, dengue fever or Chikungunya. But those in Switzerland have so far not been found to be carrying diseases, say the Valais authorities, so being bitten “does not at this time represent any particular danger for the population”.