Unlivable, infernal, a horror… The testimonies submitted for the readers of Progrés on social networks leave little room for doubt: the tiger mosquito is the scourge of this return to school in 2022 in the Lyon metropolitan area.
The SOS of readers in distress
The local newspaper, which wanted to devote an article to the proliferation of the tiger mosquito, had launched a call for testimonies on social networks. Journalists obviously did not expect so many returns: “It’s no longer a call for witnesses, it’s a call for help”they write.
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“The situation is becoming untenable in certain cities of the Metropolis and the department”points the newspaper.
After the almost unbearable temperatures of a scorching summer, the inhabitants face a sneaky plague, which no one had seen coming and which, unlike the heat, does not make the headlines every other day. However in the Rhône, this year 2022 is marked by a proliferation of tiger mosquitoes close to infestation.
The tiger mosquito, it is those who are its victims who talk about it the best. On the Progrés Facebook page, the testimonies smack of experience, saturation and discouragement.
“Infernal, twenty bites every night”, “Impossible to enjoy the garden, summer becomes my obsession”, “Hell, can’t wait for winter, it’s crazy to say that”, “Ok… But now what do we do?”…
What to do ? That’s actually the whole question. If the observation is clear – the tiger mosquito has become a scourge that no one can ignore – the initiatives are not rushing.
Municipalities, Metropolis of Lyon and the Rhône department have not (yet?) implemented coordinated measures to combat the proliferation of the tiger mosquito. Worse, the communities sometimes give the impression of sending the hot potato to each other.
Recently the Metropolis of Lyon has just launched the idea of ”creating ponds” to encourage the colonization of predatory species of the tiger mosquito (dragonflies for example). A mode of struggle which would have the merit of preserving the environment and not hitting the Europe Ecology-Les Verts team of the mayor of Lyon Grégory Doucet. It remains to be seen whether the effectiveness of these ponds would be commensurate with the challenge.
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Insecticide-based mosquito control campaigns are also carried out in the Rhône, but these are only very targeted episodic actions triggered when cases of dengue fever – a virus that the tiger mosquito can transmit – have been reported.
In the absence of a real public policy in this area, the inhabitants are fighting on their own scale and with their weapons: repellents, traps and ointments. But in this configuration the fight is unequal, not to say lost in advance: “a huge expenditure in various more or less natural products. We need collective action on a larger scale. Our town halls turn a deaf ear and only offer us the purchase of very expensive traps”summarizes a resident of Simandres, south of Lyon.
In addition to dengue fever, the tiger mosquito can transmit viruses that are dangerous to humans, such as chikungunya or zika. Its proliferation in mainland France – the first observations date back to 2004 – poses a public health problem. Beyond the epidemic risk, there is the problem of a hindered quality of life and a population on edge, not to say stung…
Dengue fever: 26 indigenous cases in the last few days
The tiger mosquito worries well beyond the Lyon metropolis. Over the past few days, 26 cases of autochthonous dengue fever have been identified in the south-east of France. The infected people do not withdraw from a stay in an area where the dengue virus is reputed to circulate actively, all were contaminated in France after being bitten by a mosquito which had taken blood from a dengue-positive person .
To date, the tiger mosquito is present in 67 departments in France, that’s 10 more than two years ago.