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Current Trends Update: Aedes albopictus Infestation -- United States

In August 1985, an infestation of Aedes albopictus, a mosquito known to transmit epidemic dengue in its native Asia, was discovered in Harris County, Texas (1,2). This mosquito transmits a number of pathogenic arboviruses, including members of the California serogroup indigenous to the United States.

Surveillance to determine the distribution of Ae. albopictus in the United States began in 1986 (3,4). By October of that year, the mosquito had been found in one or more counties in 12 states. Since then, infestations have been discovered in five additional states (Table 1).* To date, Ae. albopictus has been found principally in southern, eastern, and midwestern states, with the northernmost infestation being in downtown Chicago, Illinois (Figure 1).

Eight cities known to be infested with Ae. albopictus in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, and Indiana were surveyed in detail during 1987 to determine how far the mosquito had spread from the original foci of introduction and the manner in which it was spreading. Preliminary data from seven of the eight cities suggest that Ae. albopictus is not yet well established** in the more northerly cities surveyed (Table 2). With the exception of Jacksonville, Florida, however, it was a prominent Aedes species in all of the southern cities surveyed. The Jacksonville infestation may be of short duration, or control efforts may have reduced its spread. Several state and local agencies have attempted to eliminate or reduce focal infestations, with mixed results.

Ae. albopictus and other container-breeding Aedes species commonly breed in water found in tires stored outdoors, and tires appear to be a major means of distribution of these mosquitoes. During 1986, larvae of Ae. albopictus and several other mosquito species were intercepted in shipments of used tires from Japan (6). Personnel of the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District collected Ae. albopictus from large equipment tires shipped from Hawaii to an Oakland, California, tire dealer. No additional Ae. albopictus mosquitoes have been recovered from the Oakland site. Reported by: Covington County Health Dept, Andalusia; Jefferson County Health Dept, Birmingham; Choctaw County Health Dept, Butler; Cullman County Health Dept, Cullman; Houston County Health Dept, Dothan; Madison County Health Dept, Huntsville; Mobile County Health Dept, Mobile; Tuscaloosa County Health Dept, Tuscaloosa; General Sanitation Br, Alabama Dept of Public Health. North Little Rock Health Unit, North Little Rock; Jefferson County Health Unit, Pine Bluff; Miller County Health Dept, Texarkana; Vector Control Section, Arkansas Dept of Environmental Support Svcs, Little Rock, Arkansas. Alameda County Mosquito Abatement Dist, Oakland; Vector Surveillance and Control Br, California Dept of Health Svcs. Delaware Dept of Natural Resources. Escambia County Mosquito Control, Jacksonville Mosquito Control Br, Jacksonville; Monroe County Mosquito Control Dist, Key West; Dade County Mosquito Control Div, Miami; Orange County Mosquito Control, Orlando; Sarasota County Environmental Svcs, Sarasota; Hillsborough County Mosquito Control, Tampa; Broward County Mosquito Control, West Hollywood; Florida Dept of Health and Rehabilitative Svcs. Clarke County Dept of Public Health; Cooperative Extension Svc of the Univ of Georgia, Athens; Dept of Environmental Svcs, Brunswick; Macon-Bibb County Health Dept, Macon; Chatham County Mosquito Control Commission, Savannah, Georgia. Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois Dept of Public Health. Evansville-Vanderburg County Health Dept, Evansville; Indiana State Board of Health. Dept of Entomology of the Univ of Kentucky, Lexington-Fayette County Health Dept, Lexington; Louisville-Jefferson County Health Dept, Louisville, Kentucky. Vermillion Parish Mosquito Control, Abbeville; Louisiana Dept of Agriculture, Alexandria; East Baton Rouge Mosquito and Rodent Control Dist, Baton Rouge; Caddo Parish Health Dept, Shreveport; Calcasieu Parish Mosquito Control, Lake Charles; Ouachita Parish Mosquito Control, Monroe; Orleans Parish Mosquito Control, New Orleans; Louisiana Dept of Health and Human Resources. Mosquito Control Section, Maryland Dept of Agriculture, Annapolis, Maryland. Gulf Coast Mosquito Control, Gulfport; Vector Control and Sanitation Br, Mississippi State Dept of Health. City Health Dept, Independence; Kansas City Health Dept, Kansas City; St. Louis County Health Dept, Clayton; Missouri Dept of Health. Carteret County Vector Control Br, Atlantic Beach; Mecklenburg County Dept of Environmental Health, Charlotte; Onslow County Mosquito Control, Jacksonville; Agricultural Extension Svc of North Carolina State Univ; Wake County Vector Control Br, Raleigh; Environmental Svcs Div, Rocky Mount; New Hanover County Health Dept, Wilmington; Forsyth County Health Dept, Winston-Salem; Vector Control Br, North Carolina Dept of Human Resources. Vector-Borne Disease Unit, Ohio Dept of Health. Tulsa City-County Health Dept, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Charleston County Mosquito Abatement Program, Charleston; Richland County Health Dept, Columbia; Florence County Health Dept, Florence; Greenville County Health Dept, Greenville; Orangeburg County Health Dept, Orangeburg; South Carolina Dept of Health and Environmental Control. Memphis-Shelby County Health Dept, Memphis, Tennessee. Brownsville Health Dept, Brownsville; Nueces County Health Dept, Corpus Christi; Dept of Environmental Health and Conservation, Dallas; Harris County Mosquito Control Dist, Houston; Webb County Health Dept, Laredo; McAllen Health Dept, McAllen; Metro Health Dist, San Antonio; Texas Dept of Health. Washington Borough Mosquito Control, Deep Creek Borough Mosquito Control, Great Bridge Borough Mosquito Control, Chesapeake; Rodent and Insect Control, Norfolk; Princess Anne Mosquito Control, Virginia Beach; Public Health Sanitation Div, Charleston, Virginia. Div of Quarantine, Center for Prevention Svcs, Div of Vector-Borne Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: Several counties that were negative for Ae. albopictus in 1986 were positive in 1987 (Table 1), suggesting expansion of the species rather than discovery of preexisting foci. The additional infestations in the midwestern states increase the likelihood of involvement of Ae. albopictus in the La Crosse virus cycle. This mosquito species has been shown to be capable of surviving the winter in many of the La Crosse-endemic areas of the United States (7,8).

Despite its rapid northward extension, Ae. albopictus has so far failed to move into south Texas or south Florida. The mosquito's current southern limit is between 29 degrees and 30 degrees north latitude. The characteristic diapause (hibernation) of the Ae. albopictus populations in the United States makes them uniquely adaptable to the northern temperate environment and may also be limiting their southern spread.

The control or eradication of Ae. albopictus is complicated by several factors. Insecticide susceptibility tests conducted by the New Orleans Mosquito Board, Rutgers University, and CDC show that this mosquito has increased tolerance to malathion, temephos, and bendiocarb, among the limited number of insecticides evaluated to date. Although source reduction programs, which eliminate breeding in tires and other water-holding containers, are expensive and difficult to carry out, they provide the only long-lasting solution to the problem. The possibility of reintroduction of the mosquito in containers (such as tires) coming from outside the community will necessitate continual monitoring and treatment.

Since this mosquito is capable of vertically passing a number of viruses to its young during the egg stage (9), other arboviruses could be imported into the United States in the eggs or larvae of this species. In addition, the importation of populations from other areas could expand the genetic variability, providing, for example, genes for greater insecticide resistance or greater susceptibility to disease agents.

Because of the importance of preventing continued introduction of Ae. albopictus into this country, beginning January 1, 1988, under the provisions of Public Law 78-410, Public Health Service Act, Section 361, and 42 CFR 71.32(c)(10), CDC will require that all used tire casings coming from Asia be certified as being dry, clean, and free of insects.


  1. Sprenger D, Wuithiranyagool T. The discovery and distribution of Aedes albopictus in Harris County, Texas. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 1986;2:217-9.

  2. Centers for Disease Control. Aedes albopictus introduction--Texas. MMWR 1986;35:141-2.

  3. Centers for Disease Control. Aedes albopictus infestation--United States, Brazil. MMWR 1986;35:493-5.

  4. Centers for Disease Control. Update: Aedes albopictus infestation--United States. MMWR 1986;35:649-51.

  5. Fay RW, Eliason DA. A preferred oviposition site as a surveillance method for Aedes aegypti. Mosq News 1966;26:531-5.

  6. Craven RB, Eliason DA, Francy DB, et al. Importation of Ae. albopictus (Skuse) and other exotic mosquito species into the United States in used tires from Asia. J Am Mosq Control Assoc (in press).

  7. Hawley WA, Reiter P, Copeland RS, Pumpuni CB, Craig GB Jr. Aedes

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