Arbovirus surveillance: first dengue virus detection in local Aedes albopictus mosquitoes in Europe, Catalonia, Spain, 2015

Euro Surveill. 2018 Nov;23(47):1700837. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.47.1700837.


Dengue has emerged as the most important viral mosquito-borne disease globally. The current risk of dengue outbreaks in Europe appeared with the introduction of the vector Aedes albopictus mosquito in Mediterranean countries. Considering the increasing frequency of dengue epidemics worldwide and the movement of viraemic hosts, it is expected that new autochthonous cases will occur in the future in Europe. Arbovirus surveillance started in Catalonia in 2015 to monitor imported cases and detect possible local arboviral transmission. During 2015, 131 patients with a recent travel history to endemic countries were tested for dengue virus (DENV) and 65 dengue cases were detected. Twenty-eight patients with a febrile illness were viraemic, as demonstrated by a positive real-time RT-PCR test for DENV in serum samples. Entomological investigations around the viraemic cases led to the detection of DENV in a pool of local Ae. albopictus captured in the residency of one case. The sequence of the DENV envelope gene detected in the mosquito pool was identical to that detected in the patient. Our results show how entomological surveillance conducted around viraemic travellers can be effective for early detection of DENV in mosquitoes and thus might help to prevent possible autochthonous transmission.

Keywords: Ae. albopictus; Europe; arbovirus surveillance; dengue virus; transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / virology*
  • Animals
  • Dengue / blood
  • Dengue / diagnosis*
  • Dengue / epidemiology
  • Dengue Virus / genetics
  • Dengue Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Mosquito Vectors / virology*
  • Public Health Surveillance / methods*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Spain
  • Travel