In an unprecedented move, health authorities in Paris have initiated a mass fumigation campaign to combat the spread of disease-carrying tiger mosquitoes. The rapid advance of these mosquitoes through northern Europe is widely believed to have been accelerated by the impacts of climate change.
In southeast Paris, roads were temporarily closed, and residents were urged to remain indoors during the early hours of Thursday. Professional pest control teams systematically sprayed insecticides in various locations, including trees, green spaces, and potential mosquito-breeding sites.
While such measures have become familiar in tropical cities, they are increasingly common in Europe due to the expansion of the tiger mosquito, which is capable of transmitting dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses.
“It was a first in Paris, but it’s not the first in France,” deputy Paris mayor Anne Souyris, who is in charge of health policy, told BFM television. “The south of France has been affected by tiger mosquitoes for some years.”
The regional health authority for the Parisian region, ARS Ile-de-France, mobilised this operation, targeting an area within a 150-meter radius of the residence of an individual in the 13th district who had contracted dengue fever while traveling abroad.
“These operations are being carried out to reduce the risk of transmission of dengue after a case was detected,” it said.
In a parallel effort to prevent the emergence of a local transmission chain, a second fumigation operation was scheduled for Thursday night in the Colombes suburb, northeast of central Paris. The decision was prompted by another case of dengue fever, this time involving a person who had returned from a foreign trip.
Paris and its surrounding regions are home to an estimated 12 million people, making it crucial to prevent the further spread of these disease-carrying insects. When a tiger mosquito bites a person who has imported a virus from overseas, it becomes a potential carrier of the disease, putting more individuals at risk.
The tiger mosquito, scientifically known as Aedes albopictus, initially arrived in southern Europe in the early 2000s and has continued its rapid northward expansion ever since, establishing a presence in France, Germany, and Switzerland. Health experts attribute its success in part to climate change, as warmer temperatures shorten the incubation period for its eggs and increasingly milder winters no longer suffice to eliminate these pests.
In 2004, the tiger mosquito was first identified in France, and it has since infiltrated 71 out of the country’s 96 departments on the mainland, even reaching regions close to the northern Channel coast, as per data from the health ministry.
The move to fumigate Paris serves as a stark reminder of the public health challenges posed by the intersection of climate change and the spread of infectious diseases. It highlights the urgent need for global efforts to address these interconnected issues while protecting vulnerable populations.
“We are convinced that it is a risk that is going to get bigger,” Marie-Claire Paty, head of a vector-borne disease monitoring unit at the public health body Sante Publique, told AFP in April.
At Natural World Fund, we are passionate about stopping the decline in our wildlife.
The decline in our wildlife is shocking and frightening. Without much more support, many of the animals we know and love will continue in their decline towards extinction.
When you help to restore a patch of degraded land through rewilding to forests, meadows, or wetlands, you have a massive impact on the biodiversity at a local level. You give animals a home and food that they otherwise would not have had, and it has a positive snowball effect on the food chain.
We are convinced that this is much better for the UK than growing lots of fast-growing coniferous trees, solely to remove carbon, that don’t actually help our animals to thrive.
This is why we stand for restoring nature in the UK through responsible rewilding. For us, it is the right thing to do. Let’s do what’s right for nature!
Donate today at https://naturalworldfund.com/ and join in the solution!