University of Malta

Working Group for Vector Borne Diseases
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A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in 2010 between the Institute of Earth Systems and the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Unit (IDCU) of the Health Division. This initiative was a response to the discovery in Malta earlier that year of the Asian Tiger mosquito Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus (Skuse, 1894) (Diptera: Culicidae), a species of considerable medical and veterinary importance.  A. albopictus is a laboratory-competent vector of at least 22 arboviruses (Gratz, 2004) and a proven efficient vector of chikungunya and dengue viruses.  It also transmits dirofilariasis to dogs (Cancrini et al., 2003), with a related risk of transmission to humans.  

An information leaflet (page 1, page 2) issued by the health authorities provides basic guidelines on how to prevent the proliferation of A. albopictus and how to avoid being bitten.

Through the above MOU, a Working Group for Vector Borne Diseases was set up to develop a strategy for the surveillance of A. albopictus in Malta. Specific aims included determining the mosquito’s distribution by following up sightings reported by the public, as well as monitoring potential introduction and breeding sites. A technical briefing session on the potential problems presented by this mosquito was held on campus during August 2010 and was attended by Health Inspectors working in various areas of Malta and Gozo. The objectives of this session were to discuss the mosquito’s behaviour and ecology, to present the proposed monitoring programme and to examine possible control measures.

A detailed report was forwarded in December 2010 to Dr Ray Busuttil, Director General of the Public Health Department. The report described the nationwide surveillance network and the related methodology that was developed and implemented with the purpose of monitoring the mosquito’s distribution in the Maltese Islands, and also provided recommendations aimed at keeping the mosquito’s population under check.  



The map shows locations of confirmed sightings of A. albopictus in Malta as of 3rd December 2010. No sightings had been reported in either Gozo or Comino by that date.

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Last Updated: 19 February 2016

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