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Aedes albopictus Infestation -- United States, Brazil

United States. In August 1985, an established infestation of Aedes albopictus, an exotic mosquito species, was discovered in Houston (Harris County), Texas (1,2). In 1986, with the advent of warm weather and spring rainfall, efforts were begun to determine the extent of this infestation. During April and May, Ae. albopictus was found in counties adjacent to Houston; in New Orleans, Louisiana, and surrounding parishes; and in Memphis, Tennessee. In June and early July, the mosquito was reported from Gulfport, Mississippi, and Jacksonville, Florida.

A systematic survey of 41 cities and towns in six southern states was conducted in July 1986. Because of the propensity of Ae. albopictus to oviposit in discarded tires containing rainwater, sites selected for survey were used-tire dumps, dealers, and recappers. Ae. albopictus was found to be widely disseminated in the southern United States but to have a spotty and discontinuous distribution (Figure 1). In many sites, Ae. albopictus was abundant and aggressively biting humans. The presence of Ae. aegypti in an area did not appear to retard the ingress of Ae. albopictus; Ae. albopictus had replaced Ae. aegypti in many locations.

The extent of Ae. albopictus distribution in the United States remains incompletely known. Efforts are under way to extend surveillance to other states, including those in the north-central United States where California encephalitis group viruses are endemic. The Houston population of Ae. albopictus has been shown in the laboratory to resemble northern Asian populations that are capable of diapause, i.e., cessation of egg-hatching following exposure of pupae to short day-length intervals. This indicates that Ae. albopictus would be capable of overwinter survival in northern latitudes.

Brazil. Ae. albopictus has been found in Rio de Janeiro and in two neighboring states, Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais. Identification of the species was confirmed by entomologists from the Oswaldo Cruz Institute and Pan American Health Organization. At present, there is no indication that Ae. albopictus is involved in virus transmission in Brazil. Reported by GB Craig, PhD, Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, Indiana; D Womeldorf, J Walsh, Vector Surveillance and Control Br, California Dept of Health Svcs; D Sykes, Gulfport Mosquito Control District, E Bowles, Mississippi State Dept of Health; P Scheppf, A Lowe, Ouachita Mosquito Control District, C Greer, Rapides Parish Health Dept, GC Clement, M Ponder, Caddo Parish Mosquito Control, C Anderson, L Amberg, Louisiana Dept of Health and Human Resources; M Nelms, Dade County Health Dept, AN Davis, Broward County Mosquito Control, R Day, Palm Beach County Mosquito Control, J Gorman, J Ward, Hillsborough County Mosquito Control, J Shinholser, Pinellas County Anti-Mosquito District, G Alexander, Orange County Mosquito Control District, F Evans, St. Lucie County Mosquito Control District, L Scherer, Martin County Dept of Environmental Svcs, J Robinson, W. Pascou County Mosquito Control District, JB Hunt, Osceola County Dept of Environmental Svcs, B Eddins, Escambia County Mosquito Control, S Goodwin, Leon County Health Dept, P Simmonds, B Peacock, Jacksonville Health Dept, J Mulrennan, PhD, Office of Entomology, Florida Dept of Health and Rehabilitative Svcs; J Heusel, Chatham County Mosquito Control District, D Bouge, R Patterson, Fulton County Health Dept, RK Sikes, DVM, State Epidemiologist, Georgia Dept of Human Resources; J Sikes, Tuscaloosa County Health Dept, B Houck, Madison County Health Dept, G Bennett, Houston County Health Dept, P Pate, J Hammick, Jefferson County Health Dept, CF Erdman, Mobile County Health Dept, C Cork, JT Collier, Alabama State Dept of Public Health; Ministry of Health, Brasilia, Brazil; Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC; Div of Parasitic Diseases, Div of Vector-Borne Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: Ae. albopictus, the Asian "tiger mosquito," has been repeatedly implicated in epidemic dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever transmission in Asia (3,4). Laboratory studies have shown it to be a more efficient vector of dengue virus than Ae. aegypti (5) and a competent vector of California encephalitis group viruses (6), yellow fever virus (7), epidemic polyarthritis (Ross River) virus (8), and other agents. Ae. albopictus has not been incriminated in the spread of any viral disease in the Americas, but it represents a public health concern because of its potential to infest areas where dengue, yellow fever, or pathogenic California group viruses are present and, once introduced into such areas, to spread these viruses into areas previously free of them.

The discontinous distribution of Ae. albopictus in the southern United States found during the recent survey suggests the infestation may be contained through programs of surveillance, removal of breeding sites (especially tires), interruption of interstate dispersal of tires, and judicious use of insecticides in breeding sites. Studies are presently under way at CDC in collaboration with state and local agencies to determine the feasibility of these approaches. Critical features of the program include delineation of the full distribution of Ae. albopictus, determination of the vector's routes of spread from infested areas, and definition of the biologic attributes of the mosquito that relate to control.

The recent report that Ae. albopictus is established in Brazil is especially relevant because of the occurrence of a dengue type 1 epidemic in Rio de Janeiro and several other locations. Although evidence indicates that Ae. aegypti was the principal epidemic vector, it will now be important to determine the possible contribution of Ae. albopictus to dengue transmission. In addition, since Ae. albopictus is capable of breeding in tree holes and similar woodland habitats, as well as in urban environments, it may potentially serve as a link between jungle yellow fever and urban transmission of this virus in Brazil.


  1. Beams, BF. Analysis of mosquito control agency public education programs in the United States. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 1986;1:212-9.

  2. CDC. Aedes albopictus introduction--Texas. MMWR 1986;35:141-2.

  3. Metselaar D, Grainger CR, Oei KG, et al. An outbreak of type 2 dengue fever in the Seychelles, probably transmitted by Aedes albopictus (Skuse). Bull WHO 1980;58:937-43.

  4. Jumali, Sunarto, Gubler DJ, Nalim S, Eram S, Sulianti Saroso J. Epidemic dengue hemorrhagic fever in rural Indonesia. III. Entomological studies. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1979;28:717-24.

  5. Rosen L, Roseboom LE, Gubler DJ, Lien JC, Chaniotis BN. Comparative susceptibility of mosquito species and strains to oral and parenteral infection with dengue and Japanese encephalitis viruses. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1985;34:603-15.

  6. Shroyer DA. Transovarial maintenance of San Angelo virus in sequential generations of Aedes albopictus. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1986;35:408-17.

  7. Dinger JE, Schuffner WAP, Snijders EP, Swellengrebel NH. Onderzoek over gele koorts in Nederland (derde mededeeling). Nederl Tjschr v Geneesk 1929;73:5982-91.

  8. CDC. Unpublished data, 1986.

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