Latest on tiger mosquitoes in France: where, what risk and what to do

Health fears mount as Olympic Games approach

Experts fear that a bite from an infected tiger mosquito could jeopardise an athlete’s chance of competing in the Olympics

Fears are growing in France that tiger mosquitoes could threaten visitors to the Paris Olympics this summer, as the insect - which can carry diseases - has now been reported across the entire country.

Authorities are planning further efforts in a bid to deter the insects (Aedes albopictus), including fumigation and traps, and awareness-raising campaigns among visitors and athletes. Organisers are also working to reduce areas in which stagnant water could build up, as this can be a major factor. 

People are encouraged to use mosquito nets and repellents, as the insects are known to spread vector-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and zika. 

Already, cases of native dengue have been reported in France, meaning they were cases in people who had become infected in France, and had not travelled to a country typically associated with the disease.

Read also: France warns of increased risk of dengue fever from tiger mosquitoes
Read also: Tiger mosquitoes: new case of native dengue fever confirmed in France

Experts fear that a bite from an infected tiger mosquito could jeopardise an athlete’s chance of competing in the event, if they contract an illness as a result.

Traps from a specialist company, Biogents, are already being trialled in Marseille Marina. 

These devices mimic human body odour to attract the insects and trap them inside. Globally, scientific researchers are also working on more drastic measures, including modifying the insects’ DNA and sterilising them.

Tiger mosquito spread

The mosquito has spread across France in recent years after first being reported in 2004. It is also present in the overseas territories of La Reunion, Mayotte, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and French Guiana.

Initially found only in the south, it has now been confirmed across the entire country, including most recently in Normandy, which had previously been free of the insect.

In March, the Agence régionale de santé (ARS) Normandie confirmed that its tests in five departments had found that tiger mosquitoes were now present in the region, notably in Seine-Maritime.

Read also: Tiger mosquitoes now in Normandy, last region of France to escape them 

Despite their name, tiger mosquitoes are smaller than typical mosquitoes and do not make the tell-tale buzzing sound. They have distinctive stripes on their body, and tend to bite during the day (morning and early evening), rather than at night.

They are mainly active between the months of May and November.

Read also: Call for action to reduce mosquito numbers in France 

How can I help to reduce tiger mosquitoes?

The best way to reduce their number is to remove all places and objects that may contain stagnant water, the ARS states.

In containers that cannot be completely emptied:

  • Install mosquito nets on rainwater tanks

  • Put sand in flower bowls and pots

  • Clean out gutters and drains

Read also: Tiger mosquitoes: How you can help stop their spread in France 

It is also recommended that you report any sightings or bites to, the specialist government health department (Anses) website. The page also includes more information about the insect and how to prevent its spread.

How can I protect myself from bites?

The ARS advises: 

  • Use repellents, including products that include Deet, IR 3535, KBR 3023, or citriodiol

  • Wear long clothing

  • Hang mosquito nets

Consult a doctor if you develop symptoms such as joint/muscle pain, headaches, a skin rash with or without fever, or conjunctivitis within 10 days of your return from an affected country, or after having been bitten in France.

Dengue is not contagious among humans, but is spread by bites from an infected mosquito.