14 November 2005
Exotic Mosquitoes Intercepted at Ports of Auckland and Auckland International Airport
Two separate finds of mosquitoes in imported goods occurred at the Port of Auckland and Auckland Airport at the weekend.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Quarantine Service (MQS) staff found live Asian Tiger mosquitoes on an imported
rubbish truck off-loaded from a ship from Japan at Auckland Port on 11th November.
The adult mosquito, 5 pupae and 32 larvae were found in water in a drain in the truck. The truck was treated immediately
and Auckland Regional Public Health staff are treating and monitoring the surrounding area to detect any further
The ship continued on to Christchurch where it was checked by public health staff, and the vehicle decks were fogged
with insecticide to kill any mosquitoes that might have been present.
The mosquitoes from the rubbish truck were forwarded to New Zealand BioSecure mosquito identification experts and have
been confirmed as Asian Tiger Mosquito.
The Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is known to be able to spread of a number of diseases including Dengue
Fever, Ross River Virus, Japanese Encephalitis and West Nile Virus. It has been declared an unwanted organism under the
Biosecurity Act 1993.
Deputy Chief Technical Officer from the Ministry of Health JR Gardner said the Asian Tiger Mosquito would be a great
challenge to eradicate if it were to become established in New Zealand. This species had demonstrated an ability to live
in new areas, adapting well to temperate climates and feeding on humans, domestic and wild mammals and birds.
Health protection staff will monitor the traps in the area for a further three weeks to ensure that the mosquitoes have
not escaped into the local environment.
Auckland Regional Public Health Staff were then advised on November 13th that a mosquito had been detected by MQS staff
in foodstuffs imported by plane from Fiji.
The mosquito found in the imported foodstuff were forwarded to New Zealand BioSecure mosquito identification experts and
have been confirmed as Culex pervigilans, a mosquito that is found in New Zealand.
Mr Gardiner said he was confident that the measures taken by the public health staff would have eliminated any other
mosquitoes that might have been harboring in truck or the foodstuffs but close surveillance around the area would be
“Biosecurity relies greatly on everybody’s participation to keep our borders secure. These sites will be monitored
closely for the next few weeks but it is important that anyone who works in the vicinity who notices any mosquito
activity such as insect biting or ‘wrigglers in pooled water’ assist by reporting this to the Public Health Services.”
said Mr Gardner
The phone number to ring for Auckland Regional Public Health Service is 09 6234600 and 03 3799480 for Community and
Public Health in Christchurch. The MAF exotic pest hotline is 0800 809 966.
Mr Gardner said the fact that the exotic mosquitoes have been detected at the border shows systems are working
efficiently, and it means it is less likely they will spread in New Zealand.
Exotic mosquitoes of public health significance have been intercepted on 42 occasions since January 1998.