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Epidemiologic Notes and Reports Update: Aedes albopictus Infestation - United States

In August 1985, an infestation of Aedes albopictus ("Asian Tiger Mosquito"), an exotic mosquito known to transmit epidemic dengue fever in its native Asia, was discovered in Harris County, Texas. Aedes albopictus has been shown in the laboratory to be capable of efficientiy transmitting dengue and several other viruses (including California [LaCrosse] encephalitis virus) that can infect humans and are indigenous to the United States. In the spring of 1986, efforts were begun to determine the distribution of this mosquito vector in the United States. The most recent survey for Ae albopictus breeding was conducted September 15-29 in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, and Arkansas. Sites inspected were the business premises of tire dealers and re-treaders, because the mosquito commonly breeds in standing water found in tires stored outdoors on their sides. As. albopictus larvae were found in at least one location in two of 10 counties surveyed in Illinois, two of 10 in Indiana, three of 11 in Missouri, and one of seven in Arkansas; none were found in the Kentucky survey. In early September, a single positive site had bien discovered by the Ohio Department of Health in Darke County; no further breeding was found during surveys in five other Ohio counties. Oviposition trap surveillance also has provided evidence for an infestation in San Antonio, Texas. Figure 1 shows the present distribution of As. albopictus-positive counties.

To determine the mode of Introduction and to characterize the risk of further introduction, CDC has conducted inspections of used auto and truck tires entering United States ports from Asia, the source of several million used tires each year. For example, in 1 985, a total of 3.2 million used tires were imported, of which 2.8 million came from Asian countries with indigenous Ae albopictus populations, including 890,000 from Japan.

On October 6-7, 1986, inspectors checked 2,013 tires in nine cargo containers originating in Japan and off-loaded in Seattle, Washington; As. albopictus larvae were found in 11 tires in two of the cargo containers. The two positive containers had a higher proportion of tires (91%) holding water than did the negative containers (17%). Both positive containers were shippad by the same exporter in Japan. The positive containers were fumigated with methyl bromide to kill larvae and ova. Although tire shipments originating in Japan have been inspected since June, the October shipment was the first one found to be infested. Reported by E Roberts, Barberton Health Dept, D Somers, Cuyahoga County Health Dept, K Mizer Stark County Health Dept, M Parsons, R Berry, E Perterson, Ohio State Health Dept G Creig, W Hewlay, K Rai, P Grimstad, Notre Dome University, C Dulla; S Brewer, J Erwin, Marion County Health Dept, D Hervey, Clark County Health Dept, C Mayfeld, M Galbraith, Bartholomew County Health Dept, M Sinsko, PhD, B Foster, E McDonald, V Dunn, Indiana State Board of Health; J Nielsen Louisville-Jefferson County Health Dept, G Moorer, Lexington-Fayette County Health Dept, C Gayle, Kentucky Dept of Agricurture; H Meyer City of St. Louis Health Divsion, W Willey, W Kottkamp, St. Louis County Health Dept, H Bengsch, J Boles, Springfield-Green County Health Dept, J Hounschell, City of Joplin Dept of Health and Welfare,, C Lansford, Jefferson City Dept of Planning end Code Enforcement, C Sanders, City of Columbia-Boone County Dept of Hearth, A Thomas, Kansas City Health Dept, F Unnewehr, R Tanner R field, R Larkam, Missouri State Health Dept; H Dominic, L Heramis, PhD, Illinois Dept of Public Health; E Swearingen Jr., Ft. Smith-Sebastian County Dept of Public Health; D Hermon, Area 1 Headquarters, Akansas State Health Dept; M Meisch, PhD D Bessi,; A Weathersbee, M Riggs, Dept of Entomology University of Arkanses, D Purifoy, Miller County Hearth Dept, M Townsend, Jefferson County Health Unit, H Spatz, Faulkner County Health Unit, D Edwards, T Reid, North Little Rock Health Dept, W Tear, R Neill, K Free; Arkansas State Hearth Dept; Div of Vector-Borne Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: The recent surveys described above confirm the presence of Ae. al,lcoictus in northern areas of the Ohio-Mississippi Valley, an area in which California (LaCrosse) encephalitiss is known to be endemic. Because laboratory studies have shown that Ae. albopictus is capable of entering diapause (1), it is expected that these populations will sucessfully overwinter and resume breeding activity in the spring. In the summer of 1987, investigations should be conducted to determine the role of Ae. albopictus in transmission of California-group viruses - especially LaCrosse encephalitis - in the Central United States.

The evidence suggests that the Ae. albopictus infestation of the northern United States has occurred relatively recently, since only seven (13%) of 53 counties sampled were infested in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin, compared with 31 (89%) of 35 counties sampled in the area of the the United States already known to be infested by this mosquito (Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi). Efforts to control/prevent the spread of Ae. albopictus in the northern states will become an even greater concern as mosquito breeding resumes next spring.

The finding of infested used tires in Washington State indicates a need for further evaluation of the hypothesis that importation of tires from Asia represents a possible source of the original infestation in the United States. CDC is currently reviewing options for preventing further introduction of Ae. albopictus.


  1. Craig GB. University of Notre Dame. Personnal communication.

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