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Logo of bmcphBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Public Health
BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 72.
Published online 2012 January 24. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-72
PMCID: PMC3398301

Aedes albopictus and the reemergence of Dengue


Dengue is a vector-borne disease that is estimated to affect millions of individuals each year in tropical and subtropical areas, and it is reemerging in areas that have been disease-free for relatively long periods of time. In this issue of the journal, Peng et al. report on a Dengue outbreak in a city in southern China that had been disease-free for more than two decades. The infection, which was due to serotype 1, was introduced by a traveler from South-east Asia and transmitted by Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito. Compared to Aedes aegypti, which is the most important vector of Dengue, Ae albopictus is a less competent vector of arboviruses, and the epidemics it causes are milder. However, Ae albopictus is becoming an increasingly important vector because of its rapidly changing global distribution. In particular, the worldwide trade in second hand tires, which often contain water and are an ideal place for eggs and larvae, has been a key factor in the large-scale conquest of Ae albopictus, which easily adapts to new environments, even in a temperate climate. This expansion is creating new opportunities for viruses to circulate in new areas, becoming a common cause of epidemics in Ae aegypti-free countries, from Hawaii to Mauritius. The outbreak in China, like similar events, was mild and short-lived. Because epidemics due to Ae albopictus are milder, the replacement of Ae aegypti with the tiger mosquito could even result in public-health benefits. However, there is no solid evidence of this, and the milder course of the outbreak could be in part explained by the relatively short duration of the hot season in some affected areas. Since it is almost impossible to prevent Ae albopictus from being introduced in a country, mosquito-control measures at local level remain the most effective means of controlling arbovirus outbreaks.

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