Intercepted Mosquitoes at New Zealand's Ports of Entry, 2001 to 2018: Current Status and Future Concerns

Trop Med Infect Dis. 2019 Jul 5;4(3):101. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed4030101.


Mosquito vectors are extending their range via international travel and trade. Climate change makes New Zealand an increasingly suitable environment for less tropically adapted exotic mosquito vectors to become established. This shift will add a multiplier effect to existing risks of both the establishment of new species and of resident exotic species extending into new areas. We describe trends in the border interceptions of exotic mosquitoes and evaluate the role of imported goods as a pathway for these introductions. Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus, the two most commonly intercepted species, were only intercepted in Auckland. Used tyres and machinery were the main mode of entry for both species. The majority of Ae. albopictus were transported as larvae by sea, while most Ae. aegypti were transported as adults by air. Continuing introductions of these mosquitoes, mainly arriving via Japan or Australia, increase the risk of the local transmission of mosquito-borne diseases in New Zealand in general and in the Auckland region in particular. These findings reinforce the need for a high performing and adequately resourced national biosecurity system, particularly port surveillance and inspection. Recommended biosecurity improvements are described.

Keywords: Aedes aegypti; Aedes albopictus; New Zealand; climate change; interception; machinery; mosquitoes; used tyres; vector-borne diseases.