In Finland, a species of anopheles daciae mosquito has been discovered, which is commonly present in Eastern Europe and the Balkans and is thought to be capable of transmitting malaria. Scientists at the University of Helsinki are reassuring that there is no reason to worry about malaria spreading across the country, reports the Finnish radio and television station YLE.
Scientists have discovered a new species while examining the presence of different species of mosquitoes across the country over the past five years. Anopheles daciae is believed to transmit malaria because it is related to other malaria-transmitting mosquitoes.
Malaria in humans causes fever, vomiting, headache, seizures and can lead to death. The disease was eradicated in Finland in the mid-20th century, but could return.
However, Lorna Culverwell, a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki, assured that at the moment there is no need to worry about malaria starting to spread across the country. “Since malaria is not native to Finland, there is no reason to panic about the discovery. However, the coronavirus pandemic has shown that we need to be prepared for all public health developments,” she said.
It is important to control all mosquito species in Europe that are capable of transmitting pathogens, especially in the face of climate change, Culverwell added. Climate change could affect the expansion of mosquito habitats and improve conditions for disease-resistant mosquito populations, she explained.