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Update: Aedes albopictus Infestation -- United States, Mexico

Aedes albopictus, a mosquito of Asian origin, was discovered in Texas in 1985 (1,2). This mosquito transmits dengue virus in Asia (3,4) and under laboratory conditions can transmit pathogenic viruses indigenous to the United States (5).

Surveillance for Ae. albopictus in the eastern United States was initiated in 1986; by 1988, infestations had been found in 113 counties in 17 states (Figure 1, page 445) (6-8). In 1988, the mosquito was also found in a tire in Matamoros, Mexico. This is the southernmost identification of Ae. albopictus in North America; however, subsequent surveys in Matamoros have not detected further evidence of infestation. Separate infestations of Ae. albopictus, originating from tropical Asia, have been established in four Brazilian states (6).

Ae. albopictus was probably introduced into the United States in used-tire casings imported from Asia (9). On January 1, 1988, new regulations were implemented to control the importation of used-tire casings originating in Asian countries. These regulations require that used-tire casings be clean and dry and be treated by one of three approved fumigation procedures. During 1988, 34 (0.5%) of 6533 casings examined in U.S. ports contained water--a 98% reduction from levels found in earlier surveys (9). During 1988, no viruses were isolated from 10,679 Ae. albopictus specimens from Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, and Louisiana. Reported by: State and local health and vector-control agencies in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. KJ Tennessen, Tennessee Valley Authority, Muscle Shoals, Alabama. TW Walker, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. J Sepulveda-Amor, MD, Direccion General de Epidemiologia, J Fernandez de Castro, MD, Direccion General de Medicina Preventiva, Secretaria de Salubridad, Mexico City, Mexico. Div of Quarantine, Center for Prevention Svcs; Div of Vector-Borne Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: The public health importance of the introduction and infestation of Ae. albopictus in the United States remains undetermined. The potential for Ae. albopictus to transmit certain pathogenic arboviruses indigenous to the United States has been proven in laboratory experiments (5); however, disease transmission by this mosquito in natural settings has not been documented. La Crosse virus, a leading cause of childhood encephalitis in the upper and midwestern United States, is usually restricted to rural areas by the behavior of its principal vector mosquito, although the virus could extend to urban centers if carried by Ae. albopictus. La Crosse virus has not been isolated from Ae. albopictus, and no case of encephalitis has been epidemiologically attributed to this mosquito. The potential for dengue virus transmission in the United States by Ae. albopictus is of particular concern. The principal vector of dengue virus, Ae. aegypti, is prevalent throughout the Southeast but cannot overwinter in northern states. However, because Ae. albopictus can overwinter as far north as latitude 42 N and in summer can extend even farther north, the risk for epidemic dengue in the United States is heightened.

In suburban areas of New Orleans with abundant vegetation, Ae. albopictus has replaced Ae. aegypti and has become the principal source of mosquito complaints to the health department. Ae. aegypti remains dominant in urban areas where housing density is high and vegetation is sparse.

Although Ae. albopictus now is entrenched in the United States, continued monitoring of imported used-tire casings is needed to prevent further introductions of this mosquito and to prevent the introduction of other exotic mosquito species and Asian arboviruses (9). Spot surveys support the effectiveness of the new regulations regarding the importation of tires from Asia.


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

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

  4. 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.

  5. Shroyer DA. Aedes albopictus and arboviruses: a concise review of the literature. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 1986;2:424-8.

  6. CDC. Aedes albopictus infestation--United States, Brazil. MMWR 1986;35:493-5.

  7. CDC. Update: Aedes albopictus infestation--United States. MMWR 1986;35:649-51.

  8. CDC. Update: Aedes albopictus infestation--United States. MMWR 1987;36:769-73.

  9. Craven RB, Eliason DA, Francy DB, et al. Importation of Aedes albopictus and other exotic mosquito species into the United States in used tires from Asia. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 1988;4:138-42.

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