Action Taken After Mosquito Border Interception
Auckland Health Authorities Take Action After Mosquito Border Interception
TWO species of exotic mosquito intercepted by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Quarantine Service at Auckland port have put public health staff there on alert.
Ten larvae and several pupae of the two mosquitos were found on the ship Southern Cross 2. The vessel's last port of call before reaching New Zealand was Pago Pago, American Samoa.
MAF quarantine staff found the larvae and pupae on Sunday afternoon in the used tyres that had been used to secure a piece of equipment on a flat rack container.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Sally Gilbert said Auckland Public Health Services immediately put in place a programme of enhanced surveillance, checking the surrounding area and placing a number of adult and larvae mosquito traps in the vicinity. The tyres and immediate area have been treated with a control agent.
"Until the mosquitoes have been properly identified, health authorities are treating the find as a potential threat to public health and will continue the enhanced surveillance," said Ms Gilbert, Chief Technical Officer (Health) for Biosecurity.
"So far it's been confirmed the two species are not from New Zealand, and Australian experts have been contacted to give a more comprehensive identification. We hope to have that confirmed within the next day or two."
Ms Gilbert said exotic mosquitoes of public health significance have been intercepted on 20 previous occasions since January 1998.
Exotic mosquitoes are most likely to enter New Zealand by way of:
Being lodged in deck cargo on international ships Breeding in water storage and open containers on fishing boats and yachts Breeding or attached to used tyres Lodged in used vehicles, used machinery and other imported goods.
MAF QUARANTINE SERVICE staff are the first line of defence in the search for exotic organisms on imported goods. Public health staff carry out routine surveillance for mosquitoes.
Biosecurity agencies ask that cargo handlers and members of the public who note anything unusual on imported goods to "see it, contain it and report it''. This message is actively promoted by the biosecurity awareness programme, Protect New Zealand.
"This could mean closing off the vehicle, container, package or room, and reporting it to the MAF exotic pest hotline 0800 809 966,'' Ms Gilbert said.