Tiger mosquito: bite, symptoms, danger, what to do?

TIGER MOUSTIC 2022. 70 departments are colonized by the tiger mosquito in France, i.e. two-thirds of the territory, including Paris. Should I be worried about bites? What diseases can it transmit? What symptoms? Hazards? What is his size ? How to protect against it?

[Updated August 26, 2022 at 10:11 a.m.] The tiger mosquito ( Aedes albopictus) rages in the summer! On August 26, the site Mosquito vigilance has updated its map presence of the tiger mosquito in France (including Paris ) and regions in Red alert . According to this site, 70 departments are colonized or in the process of being colonized by this mosquito, i.e. nearly 67% of the territory . Departments that are on orange alert sooner or later switch to red alert. The departments of North are for the moment relatively spared . The southern half, on the other hand, is well colonized. This mosquito is monitored by the Regional Health Agencies (ARS) through a network of nesting traps, mainly in the most populated urban areas. The tiger mosquito likes places inhabited by man . The pique like the 'classic' mosquito but rather day and can carry diseases of which the Zika . In which departments is he present? How to protect yourself from it? What risks if you get bitten? What is the cut tiger mosquito? How to disinfect and treat the sting ?

Map: where is the tiger mosquito present in France?

In mainland France, this mosquito has developed rapidly since 2004 . Every year, tiger mosquito comes out of hibernation in spring , a period in which we find the conjunction of humidity and heat. humidity , so that the eggs laid can develop from larva to pupa, and the heat , so that the larva pushes its development to the adult stage of the mosquito. The official presence maps of the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) in mainland France are intended for the information of decision-makers and the general public. They are updated regularly by the Ministry of Health . It is possible to report the presence of the tiger mosquito on the official portal of the health authorities: signalement-moustique.anses.fr .

► The tiger mosquito is active in 67% of French territory , indicates the Mosquito Vigilance website .

  Presence map of the tiger mosquito in August 2022
Presence map of the tiger mosquito in August 2022

Caption: burgundy: declared case of illness / rouge : implanted and active tiger mosquito / orange : one-time interception / yellow : entomological monitoring / green : health watch, nothing to declare

  Map of the 67 departments colonized by the tiger mosquito (out of the 96 metropolitan departments)
Map of the departments colonized by the tiger mosquito (out of the 96 metropolitan departments)

Is the tiger mosquito present in Paris?

According to the map published by Vigilance Moustiques (above), Paris (as well as all departments of Ile-de-France) is placed in red vigilance, meaning that the tiger mosquito is active there. Thereby, enhanced monitoring of the tiger mosquito is put in place by the authorities from May 1 to November 30, 2022.

  Presence map of the tiger mosquito in Ile de France
Presence map of the tiger mosquito in Ile de France

How big is the tiger mosquito?

The tiger mosquito is smaller than the native mosquito que l'on a chez nous: aedes albopictus measures about 5 millimeters. The native mosquito, on the other hand, generally measures between half a centimeter and one centimeter.

What diseases can you catch from the tiger mosquito?

'The tiger mosquito is a potential vector for certain viral diseases, but it does not always carry them, explains Stéphane Gayet, infectious disease specialist at the Strasbourg University Hospital. The best known are the Dengue , the Chikungunya virus and the Zika virus. He is able to transmit them from one person to another' . Concretely, the mosquito contracts the disease by biting an infected individual, then transmits it by biting another person. If it is stung, the patient remains infectious for a few hours before the onset of symptoms and during the acute phase, generally 5 days after onset demonstrations.

>> Dengue is a mostly asymptomatic disease. In 25 to 60% of cases, it is manifested by symptoms similar to those of flu (high fever, chills, headaches, myalgia, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, etc.) associated with Rashes and great fatigue.

>> Le chikungunya is usually a benign disease, which causes symptoms such as great fatigue and pain that can persist for several weeks. In case of onset of fever and joint pain occurring after a mosquito bite, it is better to consult your doctor.

>> The disease virus Zika is a disease that is usually mild but can sometimes lead to flu-like symptoms such as headaches, body aches, fatigue, but also rashes. It can also manifest as conjunctivitis or pain behind the eyes, as well as swelling of the hands and/or feet. The fever appears low and transient.

What are the risks of a tiger mosquito bite?

Stéphane Gayet wants to reassure on the case of the tiger mosquito : 'I l should not be alarmist, this mosquito is not necessarily dangerous: so that it transmits viral diseases, such as Dengue, chikungunya or Zika infection, he must first sting someone infected. However, there are very few cases in France .' We must therefore be vigilant, but it is not something to be afraid of, because these mosquitoes represent a risk only in countries where there are these diseases.

What is the origin of the tiger mosquito?

The tiger mosquito , or aedes albopictus , is a mosquito originating from the tropical forests of Southeast Asia , but which is now present in most countries around the world because it has been able to adapt to various environments, particularly in urban areas. 'It arrived in Europe in the 2000s, by plane, or more probably by boat, since the life of mosquitoes is linked to humidity' , explains Stéphane Gayet, infectious disease specialist at the Chu de Strasbourg. The species is today established in more than 100 countries on the 5 continents of the planet . This dazzling expansion, linked mainly to international trade (of tires in particular), has earned it the status of the most invasive species in the world . It tends to proliferate in all kinds of containers and artificial water reservoirs (vases, pots, cans, gutters...). ' It is called tiger mosquito in reference to the white lines that streak its body and its black legs ' , he says. The tiger mosquito is quiet and diurnal , in other words, it rather stings the day (mainly in the morning and evening) quietly, while the mosquito tends to bite at night.

  Tiger Mosquito Life Cycle
Tiger Mosquito Life Cycle

Photo: What does a tiger mosquito look like?

  tiger mosquito
Photo of a tiger mosquito
  Picture of'un moustique tigre
photo of a tiger mosquito

What is the lifespan of the tiger mosquito?

The tiger mosquito lives an average of 30 days.

How to protect yourself from the tiger mosquito?

The National Agency for Health, Food, Environment and Labor Safety ( Considered ) has issued a list of recommendations for protection against tiger mosquitoes.

To avoid the proliferation of the tiger mosquito at home, you must:

  • If possible, turn on the air conditioning (mosquitoes flee cool places) or a fan;
  • Empty vases, saucers from flowerpots or fill them with wet sand.
  • Regularly remove or empty small containers that may contain water in the gardens.
  • Make the rainwater collection containers inaccessible to mosquitoes (cover them with a mosquito net or a thin cloth), turn the watering cans upside down.
  • Provide a sufficient slope so that water does not stagnate in the gutters.
  • Ensure proper drainage of rainwater.
  • Store all storage that may contain water away from the rain: tires, plastic tarpaulins, children's games.
  • For containers that cannot be emptied (wells, open rainwater collectors, etc.), they can be covered hermetically with mosquito net or, failing that, cover this water with a thin layer of oil: the larvae cannot no longer breathe and die.
  • Maintaining your garden, pruning trees, clearing hedges and tall grass, avoiding the storage of plant debris can limit the resting places of the tiger mosquito.
  Tiger mosquito protection measures
Tiger mosquito protection measures

To protect yourself from stings, you must:

Lemongrass only protects for about an hour

  • Wear long, loose, light-colored clothing
  • Use skin repellents following the precautions for use indicated on the packaging. The World Health Organization recommends using skin repellents, mainly those containing DEET, IR3535 or Icaridin. In revenge, they electrical devices like diffusers or ultrasonic emitters have low efficiency. In any case, you must therefore first take the advice of your doctor or, failing that, your pharmacist, because some products are ineffective and others are not recommended for pregnant women and children.
  • Use mosquito nets to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes,
  • Lemongrass only protects for about an hour against bites and is not recommended for children under 2 years of age.
  • Use insecticide diffusers indoors (outlet) and coils outdoors.

What are the differences with the 'normal' mosquito?

The tiger mosquito is very easily identifiable with the naked eye: it is recognizable by its sharp black and white stripes on the body and on the legs.

  • Its wings are frankly black (without stains) . 'The tiger mosquito is very dark, almost black, with thin white stripes. It is from these stripes that its name comes: aedes albopictus, albo means 'white' and pictus 'striped', therefore 'striped with white', explains the specialist. Even in flight, it is easy to see that the tiger mosquito is darker than the others.
  • Its body is black and white: it is easily identifiable thanks to the white line present along his thorax .
  • To feed, mosquitoes have a biting apparatus: a long appendage extending from the head. If the insect has no biting apparatus, then it is not a mosquito.
  • It is rather easy to crush in flight.
  • It bites mainly during the day, at dusk and dawn . ' Indeed, it is more diurnal than the autochthonous mosquito: it has a more daily activity, whereas the autochthonous mosquito is more crepuscular and nocturnal' , adds the infectious disease doctor.
  • It is more aggressive than other mosquitoes: 'Indeed, biting mammals or humans is necessary for female mosquitoes, but it seems that tiger mosquitoes prefer humans .'

What to do in the event of a tiger mosquito bite?

'Visually the sting is the same: you can feel a little pain, there's a little red button, it swells and itches quite quickly, describes Stéphane Gayet. The button looks like a blister a little flat, of 5mm to 2cm in diameter , according to the people. The pimple may turn red and enlarge if there is a bad reaction from the skin. “It is always important to disinfect with an antiseptic, immediately after the bite, to limit the risk of disease contagion, explains the doctor. Once this is done, the sting will go away on its own.

How to report the presence of the tiger mosquito?

If you spot tiger mosquitoes, you are asked to report them to the ARS or the prefecture, which can then launch a control plan. Reporting the presence of a tiger mosquito allows you to participate in its surveillance, which helps health authorities to put in place appropriate control measures to its spread in the territory. But before reporting a tiger mosquito, you must have a photograph of the mosquito or its condition must allow identification (by sending a sample to the operator in charge of mosquito control in your region). Once this condition has been met, to check that you are indeed in the presence of a tiger mosquito, you will have to answer three questions:

  • Is the mosquito small?
  • What color is it ?
  • Does it have a biting apparatus (a long appendage extending from its head)?

Report the presence of a tiger mosquito on the site signalement-moustique.anses.fr .

What recommendations if you travel to a country at risk?

As there is no vaccine against chikungunya and dengue fever, preventing and controlling the proliferation of mosquitoes remains the only means of protecting against it. In addition, in case of sudden high fever (above 38.5°C), severe pain in the joints, muscles and headaches one to two days after a trip, it is recommended to consult a doctor . Finally, if you go on a trip in a tropical region , it is imperative to protect yourself from mosquito bites:

  • wear covering and loose clothing impregnated with insecticide,
  • apply mosquito repellents,
  • sleep under a mosquito net previously treated with insecticide,
  • turn on the air conditioning because mosquitoes don't like low temperatures.

*surveillance which consists of periodically capturing mosquitoes using traps placed in stations. These mosquitoes are identified and sent for analysis to the Laboratory of the Regional Health Agency.

Thanks to Stéphane Gayet, infectious disease specialist at the Strasbourg University Hospital.

Source journaldesfemmes.fr