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Enhanced surveillance after 2nd mosquito discovery


Enhanced surveillance after second exotic mosquito discovery

The Ports of Auckland are under enhanced public health surveillance after the second interception this week of exotic mosquito specimens.

MAF Quarantine Service staff discovered exotic mosquito larvae on Monday night in a tyre imported in a shipment from the United States.

The larvae have not yet been positively identified. Full confirmation is being sought from an Australian expert and this may not be available until Friday.

Ministry of Health Chief Technical Officer (Health) for biosecurity Sally Gilbert said a response programme was launched as soon the larvae were found. This included surveying the area, fumigation of risk goods and setting up adult and larval traps.

"At this stage although we haven't confirmed the type of mosquito found, we do know that it is an exotic species. The concern is that it may be a species that can cause health problems. This is why a precautionary approach is taken to every interception of an unidentified exotic mosquito," Ms Gilbert said.

Earlier on Monday MAF Quarantine Service staff found more than 100 larvae, three pupae and two pupal cases in the bucket of a used, imported cherry-picker on board a ship. The specimens were identified as Ochlerotatus japonicus, also known as Aedes japonicus.

Enhanced surveillance is continuing but no further specimens have yet been found.

Ochlerotatus japonicus can carry the Japanese encephalitis virus, which can cause fever and encephalitis and may result in death for some patients. There has never been an outbreak of New Zealand acquired mosquito-borne disease in New Zealand.


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