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UK Warned To Close Windows As Asian Tiger Mosquitos Arrive

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UK Warned To Close Windows As Asian Tiger Mosquitos Arrive

Experts have warned that a new breed of mosquitos carrying deadly viruses could already be circulating around the UK.

The Asian Tiger Mosquito, which has the potential to pass on 23 infections including West Nile virus and dengue fever, could be attracted to the UK by the mix of sunshine and rain in recent weeks.

Mosquitos found in the UK are usually harmless to humans, but another new breed carrying the potentially deadly Zika virus is also thought to be circulating in the UK, making the bugs 'very dangerous' to be around, according to Government officials.

Credit: Public domain
Credit: Public domain
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Experts also fear the new mosquitos could begin to mate with the native UK bugs, which could spread disease more rapidly.

Asian Tiger Mosquitos are particularly dangerous because unlike other mosquitos, they bite throughout the day, as opposed to being active at dusk or dawn.

Their bites, while not necessarily painful, can leave an itchy, red bump on the skin.

The species carries the West Nile virus, which is especially dangerous to young children and adults over the age of 50, and can lead to inflammation of the brain or meningitis.

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Those bitten by the bug can often suffer from breathing difficulties as the bite can transmit a parasitic worm which attaches itself to the lung's arteries.

Though they are native to the tropical and subtropical areas of southeast Asia, the species has spread to many other countries across the world via international travel and the transport of goods.

Credit: Acrocynus (Creative Commons)
Credit: Acrocynus (Creative Commons)

The bug can survive a broad range of climates, meaning it can survive almost anywhere.

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A second new breed of mosquito can also transmit the potentially deadly Zika virus, which includes symptoms of fever, joint pain, rash, headache and muscle pain, which will typically last between two to seven days.

Most people who contract the virus do not develop symptoms.

The infection can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women and in some cases, has led to birth defects.

The virus is also associated with other pregnancy complications including preterm birth and miscarriage.

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The Government's Health Protection Agency has advised people to keep their windows closed if possible, and have warned that the bugs will 'bite anything.'

"We think it is very likely that they are already here," a spokesman told The Mirror.

"They are voracious little beasts that will bite anything. In terms of disease transmission, that makes them very dangerous."

Mosquitos are attracted to sweat on humans, which they can detect from up to 50 yards away.

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Words: Gemma Parry

Featured Image Credit: Public domain

Topics: UK News, Insects

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