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Scientists net virus-carrying mosquito

A mosquito capable of spreading the potentially serious West Nile virus has been found in Switzerland, the first time the species has been detected in central Europe.

This content was published on August 28, 2009 - 14:17

Zurich University researchers say the Asian rock pool mosquito has colonised an area of 1,400 square kilometres in central Switzerland.

The insect's larva was found in 122 of 3,500 locations tested.

"This is the first time we have proved that an invasive mosquito species is breeding and spreading in central Europe," said the team's parasite expert Alexander Mathis. He added that public health officials should consider taking
measures to prevent the species from spreading further.

The Asian rock pool mosquito is native to Japan, Korea and China, and has also been found in North America, France and Belgium.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, the mosquito can spread the West Nile virus, which causes one in 150 infected people to develop severe symptoms such as paralysis and vision loss.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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