Mosquito Alert

Citizen scientist project app launched to track spread of mosquitoes in Europe

Wednesday 07 Oct 20
Mosquito Alert is an app to track disease-spreading mosquitoes and is now available in 18 European countries.

With the help of citizens, Mosquito Alert will allow scientists to monitor the spread of these insects, which can transmit viral diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, West Nile fever and Japanese encephalitis, and is produced by the European network AIM-COST Action and the Versatile Emerging infectious disease Observatory (VEO).

Through the app, people can take pictures of mosquitoes and try to identify mosquitoes that they see. The information is passed along to a team of more than 50 international expert entomologists across Europe, who validate the observations.

Mosquito Alert has been used in Spain for five years, where volunteers have reported more than 18,300 mosquito sightings. These observations have been used to monitor the expansion of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), a species originally from South Asia that can transmit dengue, chikungunya and Zika.
The new version of the app allows users to report mosquitoes of five different species of concern in Europe: the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti), the Asian bush mosquito (Aedes japonicus), Aedes koreicus and the common house mosquito (Culex pipiens).

“The common house mosquito is a native species, but one that has an increasing epidemiological impact in Europe, which makes it necessary to monitor their populations, as is done with the invasive mosquitoes. In recent years, hundreds of local cases of West Nile fever have been counted in Europe and neighboring countries, with a peak in 2018”, says professor Marion Koopmans coordinator of the VEO EU project, and Head of the Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, The Netherlands.

“In recent years we are observing how new invasive mosquitoes, and the establishment of efficient mosquito vector species, like the Asian tiger mosquito, have been responsible for the epidemic transmission of chikungunya in Italy in 2007 and 2017, both with hundreds of cases, and autochthonous dengue and Zika cases in southern Europe,” says Alessandra Dellatorre, Coordinator of the AIM Cost EU project.

Mosquito Alert aims to reproduce the Spanish success across Europe, and to create local communities of citizen scientist volunteers. Scientists stress that Mosquito Alert does not aim to replace traditional surveillance methods, but rather to complement them.

Additional information

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23 JULY 2021