Climate change, urbanization, and financial crisis have created a dramatic mixture of challenges in Southern Europe, increasing further the risks of transmission of new vector-borne diseases. In the last decade, there has been a wide spread of an invasive mosquito species Aedes albopictus, commonly known as the Asian tiger mosquito, in various urban ecosystems of Greece accompanied by greater risks of infectious diseases, higher nuisance levels, and increased expenses incurred for their control. The aim of the present paper is to investigate citizens' perception of the Aedes albopictus problem and to evaluate various policy aspects related to its control. Findings are based on the conduct of a web-based survey at a national scale and the production of national surveillance maps. Results indicate that citizens are highly concerned with the health risks associated with the new mosquito species and consider public prevention strategies highly important for the confrontation of the problem while, at the same time, surveillance maps indicate a constant intensification of the problem. The spatial patterns of these results are further investigated aiming to define areas (regions) with different: (a) Levels of risk and/or (b) policy priorities. It appears that citizens are aware of the invasive mosquito problem and appear prone to act against possible consequences. Climate change and the complex socio-ecological context of South Europe are expected to favor a deterioration of the problem and an increasing risk of the transmission of new diseases, posing, in this respect, new challenges for policy makers and citizens.
Keywords: Asian tiger mosquito; citizens’ perception; climate change; infectious diseases; urban ecosystems; web survey.