A new European network is born to fight against mosquito-borne diseases

The “Aedes Invasive Mosquitoes” (AIM) COST Action Program has received four years of funding to develop synergies between scientists and public health professionals to deal with invasive mosquitoes Aedes that can transmit diseases such as Dengue, Zika, the West Nile virus fever and the Chikungunya. The IRTA-CReSA researcher Núria Busquets is a member of the Management Committee of this initiative, with the participation of IRTA-CReSA researcher Sandra Talavera and Carles Aranda, entomologist of the Mosquito Control Service of the Baix Llobregat and associate researcher at IRTA-CReSA.

The network brings together a scientific team from 29 countries other than Europe, an expert in entomology, medicine, veterinary medicine, epidemiology and public health, to combat the problem of mosquitoes transmitting diseases present in Europe. The objective is to create a consensus to improve surveillance and control interventions within a standardized, innovative and sustainable framework, taking advantage of modern approaches such as citizen science and evaluating the cost-effectiveness of traditional methods and innovators.

Aedes aegypti. ECDC

Yellow Fever Mosquito (Aedes aegypti). Source: ECDC

This AIM-COST project focuses on mosquito species of the Aedes genus, especially the exotic ones that have been able to adapt to European environments and which, in addition, can pose a risk to public health for their ability to transmit illnesses and rapid dispersion capacity. For example, the well-known Aedes albopictus tiger mosquito, already established throughout the Mediterranean coast and all the coastal provinces of the Iberian Peninsula; the Aedes aegypti, present in Madeira and promptly detected in Fuerteventura in December 2017; the Aedes japonicus, present in the center of Europe and recently detected in Asturias; and Aedes Koreicus, present in Belgium and in northern Italy.

The ultimate goal is to define and refine customized guidelines both locally and nationally for the monitoring, monitoring and control of these mosquitoes, collaborating with international organizations such as the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) , the World Health Organization (EU-WHO), the European Association of Mosquito Control (EMCA), the European Association of Citizen Science (ECSA) and the public health community. International agencies, government officials, local pest control agencies, and most importantly, citizens, will also be actively involved in order to achieve the maximum impact of these actions.

The first annual conference will take place in February in Athens, where the evaluation of how to harmonize the existing control and monitoring guides will be initiated and the activities of the different working groups, scientific missions and training workshops will be presented for 2019.

The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Actions are EU-funded science and technology networks that offer network tools to develop and strengthen research and innovation capacities in Europe.

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Comunicació Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (IRTA-CReSA). Programa Sanitat Animal IRTA. marina.torres@irta.cat