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Foreign mosquitoes found near Ashford International truckstop

By Kristina Curtis

A nest of potentially deadly mosquitoes has been found near Ashford International Truckstop.

Specialists from Public Health England (PHE) and Ashford Borough Council (ABC) have eradicated eggs and larvae of the Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger) mosquito, an invasive species which is known to carry the potentially fatal diseases of dengue and chikungunya

This is the second time the species has been found in the UK, however a spokesman from PHE has confirmed that the eggs pose 'no immediate risk to public health'.

An Asian tiger mosquito, so-called because of its distinctive stripes
An Asian tiger mosquito, so-called because of its distinctive stripes

Andrew Scott-Clark, director for Public Health in Kent, said: "This has been a great example of close working between local government and Public Health England to safeguard people in Kent.

"I can assure people in Kent that this poses no current risk to the public’s health" - Andrew Scott-Clark, Public Health in Kent

“The surveillance system has been highly effective in detecting this invasive species and enabled a swift response from Ashford Borough Council to treat the site and ensure this species does not become established.

“Having been consulted throughout I can assure people in Kent that this poses no current risk to the public’s health.”

The eggs and larvae were discovered through PHE’s ongoing mosquito surveillance programme which monitors 30 UK ports and airports.

It is believed they were carried from a female mosquito who came across the 'Channel via vehicular traffic', as the adult mosquitoes can only fly short distances.

PHE are keen to stress that the eggs that were removed are not an 'immediate risk' to people as they would only pick up diseases from the local population.

For a bite from the mosquito to be harmful or fatal, it would need to bite an infected person to then pass on the disease and 'incidences of this in Europe are not common'.

However, further measures have been taken to ensure safety and the site at Ashford Truckstop was closely monitored for three days after the eggs were eradicated, with all the other traps being checked.

They all came back as negative, with no evidence that the mosquito has become established but extra precautions have been added to the Ashford site with the addition of enhanced surveillance and more traps.

Foreign mosquito eggs have recently be eradicated from a site near Ashford Truckstop
Foreign mosquito eggs have recently be eradicated from a site near Ashford Truckstop

Darren Smith, General Manager of Ashford International Truckstop, said: “Public Health England routinely tests for signs of Asian Tiger mosquitoes, a species common to Europe, wherever trucks that have traveled from the Continent congregate.

“During an examination eggs were found and a decision was taken to treat the area.

“We have worked closely with PHE and Ashford Council over the last few days, the truckstop has remained open at all times and the experts assure us there is no risk to public health.”

This week Ashford International Truckstop has claimed it is turning away as many as 200 HGVs a week because the growth in traffic from the continent continues to rise.

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