EMCA Symposium for ZIKA virus: Guidelines

EMCA emphasises the need for control measures against mosquito vectors of Zika virus in EuropeInvasive mosquito species such as the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti and the tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus are efficient virus vectors. Aedes albopictus has widely established in the Mediterranean Region, whereas Aedes aegypti has established in the Black Sea Region (Southern Russia, Georgia, Turkey) and the Macaronesia Region (Madeira, Portuguese autonomous region). Both species are expanding their distribution in Europe, and Aedes albopictus has probably established also in southern Germany.

Aedes aegypti is the main vector of Zika, chikungunya and dengue viruses, while evidence is accumulating that Aedes albopictus, a known vector of both chikungunya and dengue viruses, is also a vector of Zika virus. Recent local transmission by Aedes albopictus of both chikungunya and dengue viruses in Croatia, France, and Italy, have demonstrated the vulnerability of Europe to these mosquito-borne viruses. It is sufficient that one infected person reaches a place where one of these mosquito species is established and active (e.g. during summer months), to initiate local virus transmission or even an outbreak. The dispersal of these viruses is facilitated by the increased movement of human populations (e.g. tourists, refugees, land workers).

Guidelines for control of invasive and native mosquitoes have been edited by WHO Regional Office for Europe in collaboration with EMCA (2013), and using an integrated vector management strategy for Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus population is recommended. Therefore, EMCA calls for:

  1. The development of strategic alliances with WHO, ECDC and other international organisations in order to assist member states to promote, develop and apply integrated vector and disease management approaches.
  2. The continuous implementation of an integrated mosquito surveillance and control plan (i.e. surveillance and control of both vectors and pathogens) in areas of high risk, in particular in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions.
  3. The immediate implementation of suppression actions in the areas where Aedes aegypti is found, in order to slow down its spread if not to eliminate the population.
  4. The application of vector control management measures against Aedes albopictus populations to limit the proliferation of the species, in particular connected with Zika, chikungunya, or dengue imported cases.
  5. The implementation of new vector monitoring and surveillance tools including GIS and Remote Sensing as part of all integrated vector management programmes.
  6. The development of new sustainable methods and/or active ingredients to complete and improve the control ‘tool box’ to suppress invasive mosquito species populations and control virus transmission (e.g. autodissemination of insect growth regulators, sterile insect technique, incompatible insect technique).
  7. The promotion of public education and engagement to strengthen participation, including campaigns to eliminate larval breeding sites, as part of operational integrated vector management programmes.
  8. The mobilisation of more resources for capacity building, training programs, technology development and transfer in support of integrated vector management programmes.