Alarmed homeowners in Stanford, Kent, were sent letters saying Asian Tiger Mosquito eggs had been found near their properties.
A total of 15 Stanford residents received letters from Shepway District Council, warning them that the eggs had been discovered and that a pest control company would be visiting to spray their gardens.
Resident Samantha Cox told The Mirror: “I expected them to come round in big suits and great big spray guns but it was all very quiet. It’s just something they have to do. They sprayed the water butt and anything that might collect water. They said the spray creates an oil film and suffocates the eggs.”
Jolyon Medlock, head of medical entomology at PHE, was quoted by the BBC as saying: “We regularly monitor mosquito species and look for any which are new to the UK. Enhanced monitoring of the area was implemented and no further evidence of this mosquito has so far been found. As a precaution we advised the local authority to use insecticide as a means of control.”
It is thought the eggs might have been carried over on a truck from the continent. In 2015 Public Health England set up special traps at service stations and ferry ports to monitor for mosquitoes, although none were found.
Zika fever is a mild febrile illness caused by a mosquito-borne virus similar to those that cause dengue and West Nile virus infection.
Zika virus has been linked to serious birth defects, including microcephaly, when contracted by expectant mothers during pregnancy. Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.
Zika virus has been identified in several countries in Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean since 2015. Outbreaks have previously been reported in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.