The Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus is an invasive mosquito originating from the Asia-Pacific region. This species is of major concern to public and veterinary health because of its vector role in the transmission of several pathogens, such as chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses. In Portugal, a National Vector Surveillance Network (REde de VIgilância de VEctores—REVIVE) is responsible for the surveillance of autochthonous, but also invasive, mosquito species at points of entry, such as airports, ports, storage areas, and specific border regions with Spain. At these locations, networks of mosquito traps are set and maintained under surveillance throughout the year. In September 2017, Ae. albopictus was detected for the first time in a tyre company located in the North of Portugal. Molecular typing was performed, and a preliminary phylogenetic analysis indicated a high similarity with sequences of Ae. albopictus collected in Europe. A prompt surveillance response was locally implemented to determine its dispersal and abundance, and adult mosquitoes were screened for the presence of arboviral RNA. A total of 103 specimens, 52 immatures and 51 adults, were collected. No pathogenic viruses were detected. Despite the obtained results suggest low abundance of the population locally introduced, the risk of dispersal and potential establishment of Ae. albopictus in Portugal has raised concern for autochthonous mosquito-borne disease outbreaks.
Keywords: Aedes albopictus; DNA barcoding; Portugal; REVIVE; arboviruses; invasive mosquito species.