France’s battle against tiger mosquitoes threatening 2024 Paris Olympics

France’s battle against tiger mosquitoes threatening 2024 Paris Olympics

France is facing a challenging task to ensure that the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics remain free from the threat of mosquito-borne diseases. The Asian tiger mosquito, known for spreading viruses like dengue, chikungunya, and zika, has become a major concern for the organizers. With millions of fans, visitors, and hundreds of athletes expected to arrive in Paris, the French government is intensifying efforts to mitigate the risk posed by these mosquitoes.
Over the past two decades, the Asian tiger mosquito has expanded its habitat across northern Europe, including France. Climate change has played a significant role in its adaptation to colder climates. Recently, authorities declared Normandy, the last remaining mosquito-free region in France, as infested, highlighting the extent of the problem.
Various measures have been attempted to eradicate the mosquitoes, including fumigation in parts of Paris, a method commonly used in tropical areas. However, with the Paris Olympics just a few months away, time is running out. Experts caution that a single bite from a tiger mosquito could jeopardize an athlete’s chances of participating in the Games.

According to Didier Fontenille, an entomologist and expert on vector-borne diseases, maintaining a mosquito-free environment, especially in the Olympic Village and host cities, is crucial. He emphasized the need for increased citizen involvement in keeping stagnant water sources clean, as these provide ideal conditions for mosquito breeding.

Health authorities have pledged to enhance surveillance of the mosquito threat, which has proven difficult to eliminate. Last year, France reported 45 cases of dengue, attributed to local virus transmission. Fontenille suggested that addressing stagnant water could resolve a significant portion of the issue, alongside the use of repellents, mosquito nets, and organic insecticides.

Innovative solutions, such as mosquito traps that mimic human body odors to attract and kill mosquitoes, are also being explored. Biogents, a specialist firm, has been commissioned to protect the Marseille Marina, a venue for sailing competitions during the Olympics, with 15 traps set to be installed.The fight against tiger mosquitoes has spurred a burgeoning industry, with companies like Qista installing thousands of anti-insect devices in numerous countries. Additionally, researchers are actively researching DNA modification and sterilization techniques to reduce the mosquito population.As the countdown to the Paris Olympics continues, France is ramping up its efforts to ensure a mosquito-free environment for athletes and spectators, demonstrating its commitment to hosting a safe and successful event.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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