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Exotic Mosquito Suspected In Used Machinery

A trapping programme is underway at ports in Auckland and Wellington following the discovery of an exotic mosquito larva.

The Ministry of Health's deputy chief technical officer for biosecurity, Sally Gilbert, said the larvae was found at the Port of Auckland on December 1 during routine inspections by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry quarantine staff.

Staff were inspecting used vehicles and machinery on board the vessel MV Capricorn Ace that had sailed from Japan.

"A live larva was found in water in a small plastic container on the back of a tanker truck. The truck has since been treated with insecticides and fumigated and all other vehicles on board the vessel have been checked. Traps have been set within the wharf area."

"To date, no other mosquitoes have been found."

Ms Gilbert said New Zealand taxonomy experts have advised the exotic mosquito is an Aedes mosquito but the exact species has not yet been determined.

"Further examination and comment is being sought from an Australian expert before a conclusive identification is made.

"We expect to have a response from Australia next week. In the meantime precautionary measures have been put in place."

The vessel arrived at Wellington Port on December 3. Health Protection Officers and MAF officials re-inspected the truck before it was unloaded, as well as other vehicles on the same deck. The truck's water holding tank was fumigated to destroy any exotic mosquitoes that may have been present, including any eggs.

"No used vehicles or machinery were permitted to leave the port until they had been checked and cleared by MAF quarantine staff. Traps are being checked over the next fortnight as an extra precaution."

ENDS

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