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Identity Of Mosquito Confirmed

Mosquito larvae found in Gisborne during routine sampling last week, have been confirmed as being the exotic southern salt marsh mosquito, Aedes camptorhynchus.

The samples were taken from the Wherowhero Lagoon in Muriwai, 20 kilometres south of Gisborne. This confirmation is the first of its kind since a national routine monitoring programme was set up in December 1998 after the mosquito, Aedes camptorhynchus was found in Napier, Hawke's Bay.

Deputy Chief Technical Officer (Health) Dr Bob Boyd said an intensive survey has been underway in Gisborne this week to determine the potential habitat and location of existing colonies. The results of that survey will be presented to an expert group advising the Ministry of Health tomorrow.

Dr Boyd said it is not known how or when Aedes camptorhynchus arrived in the Gisborne area, however it is encouraging to know that no adult mosquitos have been found in Hawke's Bay since May." Mosquito eggs can survive up to nine months before hatching.

The southern saltmarsh mosquito is known to be an "aggressive" biter. Dr Boyd advises people in the Gisborne area to avoid being bitten by any mosquitos. Mosquitos are most active around dawn, late afternoon and just after dusk. By screening open doors and windows, using insect sprays or mosquito coils indoors, wearing long clothing and repellent when outdoors, the possibility of being bitten can be reduced.

END

For more information contact: Selina Gentry, Media Advisor, ph: 04-496-2483 or 025-277-5411 Internet address: http://www.moh.govt.nz/media.html



Background Information

A southern saltmarsh mosquito eradication programme is currently underway in Napier, Hawke's Bay. A total of $6-million over four years has been allocated to eradication programme in Hawke's Bay which began in 1999.

The southern saltmarsh mosquito has been declared an unwanted organism in New Zealand. In Australia it is thought to be the main carrier of the Ross River Virus. To date there have been no confirmed cases of Ross River Virus in Napier or Gisborne.

Mosquitos breed in water. The public can help discourage the breeding of mosquitos for example by checking gutters and drains around their house and ensuring they are clear of leaves and blockages, getting risk of old tyres, and also drill holes in tyre swings to allow water to drain free. Swimming pools should be well chlorinated, and boats and canoes on land overturned so they don't accumulate water.


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