Dangerous mosquito species found south of Copenhagen
Mosquito species Culex modestus, which is known for spreading the dangerous West Nile virus, has been found at four ponds in the nature reserve of Vestamager, south of Copenhagen.
According to René Bødker from the National Veterinary Institute, this is the second time the species has been registered in Denmark.
In 2014, epidemiologists found the mosquitos at a waterhole near a residential neighbourhood in the southwestern Copenhagen suburb of Greve.
Bødker contends the species is migrating to Denmark due to the warmer climate and could also be breeding in other parts of Zealand and Skaane.
Although the West Nile virus (WNV) infection can cause serious health problems, such as fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, even encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), Bødker says the occurrence of the Culex modestus in Denmark is no cause for concern.
Not dangerous in Denmark
Bødker explains that the flying insects would first have to bite an infected bird and then immediately transmit the virus to a person.
“When there are no dangerous viruses around, there is no danger,” Bødker noted.
Moreover, the mosquito season is slowly coming to end in Denmark.
In Europe, WNV infection presents a great public health issue in Greece and Italy, although some cases have been reported also in Austria.
Currently, there is no vaccine for WNV and the best prevention is to use mosquito repellents and avoid standing near pools of water where the insects are likely to breed.