Continental mosquito found in UK, raising virus risk

February 9, 2012 02:03

LONDON - A species of mosquito capable of transmitting a disease called West Nile virus to humans has been discovered breeding in Britain for the first time since 1945.

Scientists who studied marshlands in southern Britain say they were able to record significant populations of the mosquito, known as Culex modestus, at several sites in the counties of Kent and Essex during 2010 and 2011.

West Nile virus mostly infects birds, but when it is transmitted from birds to humans by the bites of mosquitoes it can occasionally cause severe disease and sometimes kills.

"It's not clear how long this species of mosquito has been in the UK," said Nick Golding of Britain's Oxford University and the Center for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), who conducted the research.

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