Several invasive mosquito species are currently settling in the Upper Rhine region. The most important of these, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), is considered to be the vector of the dengue, chikungunya and zika viruses and mobilizes since 2014 the administrations in charge of the issue in the three neighboring countries. This issue, affecting the three countries, requires a tri-national reflection both at technical and governmental level.

The focus is on providing competent scientific and technical support to public authorities. This makes it easier to assess and manage the risks associated with invasive mosquitoes. In addition, TIGER offers numerous information materials, which are available not only to the municipalities but also to the entire population. These serve to raise awareness of the topic, as well as the prevention of breeding sites of invasive mosquitoes:

The axes of the project

1. Surveillance of invasive mosquitoes

In the course of TIGER the distribution and activity of invasive mosquito a synchronised entomological monitoring network investigates species. Above all, high-risk locations are taken into account. The data obtained in this way serve as a basis for risk assessment and are made available to authorities in map format.

In addition, the contact form “Report mosquito” is intended to increase the probability of early detection of new sites of invasive mosquitoes. Based on these reported findings or reports of patients carrying a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, specific entomological examinations are carried out by TIGER.

2. Risk assessment

Local risk assessments are carried out based on the data obtained in the trap network and using genetic analyses and mathematical models. Thus, potential spreading zones of invasive mosquitoes in the Upper Rhine region can be determined. This serves as an important assessment of a site-specific establishment. In addition, active and passive distribution channels are investigated. Including ecological and climatic data, maps for risk assessment of the branch of the Asian tiger mosquito are produced.

These data are made available to representatives of public authorities and external scientific experts. In the course of this, corresponding information letters and newsletters will be published.

3. Identification of vectors

In order to support the administrative staff in authorities when confronted with invasive mosquitoes, TIGER creates corresponding illustrated identification keys. In this way, local administrations can carry out the first simple integration of the insect. A second, thematically more complex identification key is to be developed, which also takes into account the different stages of development of a mosquito.

In addition, TIGER produces information sheets on the occurrence of local mosquito species, which are made available online and are intended to serve as a reliable source for both the public and the authorities.

4. Training

Administrative personnel of authorities are trained in the handling of the identification keys developed by TIGER. In this way, the local communities should be able to provide lasting answers to citizens’ questions, which may arise.

In addition, further training courses are offered, ranging from general problems with regard to transmitted diseases to raising awareness of typical breeding sites and risk locations.

5. Communication and prevention

In addition to explicit training for authorities and communities, further communication measures are intended to raise awareness among the entire population of the Upper Rhine region to the occurrence of invasive mosquito species, such as the Asian tiger mosquito. TIGER tries to reach a correspondingly wide audience by appearing at larger topic-specific events. In addition, information on the prevention of common breeding sites and other interesting aspects of the subject are published through touring exhibitions or other media such as flyers or videos.

For the authorities

TIGER tries to facilitate an exchange of knowledge between entomologists, physicians and authorities. A joint information network is also to be set up in the Upper Rhine region between the three states, which will act beyond the borders in the event of illness. In this way, critical information is to be transmitted more quickly so that the risk of an autochthonous disease can be assessed more effectively.

In addition, training by TIGER is intended to raise awareness among the population, who in turn actively visit local authorities when invasive mosquitoes occur. In this case, TIGER supports these authorities by offering training and workshops, which explicitly prepare technical personnel for population issues. The identification of invasive mosquito species can also be learned in this course in order to accelerate the chain of action in the identification of new populations.

The presence of the mosquitoes (for example Strasbourg or Freiburg), which has been located in numerous populations on the Upper Rhine since 2014, mobilizes the competent authorities in the three neighboring countries. These experts therefore have practical experience in decimating populations. The authorities can also benefit from this wealth of experience during the training courses and thus initiate their measures against local occurrence of invasive mosquitoes based on recommendations.

For the citizens

TIGER also involves the general public of the Upper Rhine region with the contact form “Report mosquito”: the TIGER experts evaluate the mosquitoes sent in and let the senders know whether the specimen is an invasive type of mosquito, and pass on valuable prevention recommendations for home and garden.

In addition, TIGER offers the possibility to find additional information about the Asian tiger mosquito on its platform. The focus is on topics such as biology, breeding site ecology and the spread of the invasive mosquito species. TIGER also provides information on the medical relevance of the Asian tiger mosquito in the Upper Rhine region, thus raising public awareness.

Further information can be obtained at events in which TIGER participates. Simple tricks to reduce typical breeding sites as well as a short introduction to the recognition of mosquitoes are thus taught to the citizens of the Upper Rhine region.

For Science

On a scientific level, TIGER serves as a network of experts in the Upper Rhine region and serves as a contact partner.

TIGER’s scientific studies include the active and passive distribution potential of Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) and a detailed risk assessment including climatic and infrastructural factors for the entire Upper Rhine region.

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