Editorial Note: Ae. albopictus, the Asian "tiger mosquito," has been repeatedly implicated in epidemic dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever transmission in Asia (3,4). Laboratory studies have shown it to be a more efficient vector of dengue virus than Ae. aegypti (5) and a competent vector of California encephalitis group viruses (6), yellow fever virus (7), epidemic polyarthritis (Ross River) virus (8), and other agents. Ae. albopictus has not been incriminated in the spread of any viral disease in the Americas, but it represents a public health concern because of its potential to infest areas where dengue, yellow fever, or pathogenic California group viruses are present and, once introduced into such areas, to spread these viruses into areas previously free of them.
The discontinous distribution of Ae. albopictus in the southern United States found during the recent survey suggests the infestation may be contained through programs of surveillance, removal of breeding sites (especially tires), interruption of interstate dispersal of tires, and judicious use of insecticides in breeding sites. Studies are presently under way at CDC in collaboration with state and local agencies to determine the feasibility of these approaches. Critical features of the program include delineation of the full distribution of Ae. albopictus, determination of the vector's routes of spread from infested areas, and definition of the biologic attributes of the mosquito that relate to control.
The recent report that Ae. albopictus is established in Brazil is especially relevant because of the occurrence of a dengue type 1 epidemic in Rio de Janeiro and several other locations. Although evidence indicates that Ae. aegypti was the principal epidemic vector, it will now be important to determine the possible contribution of Ae. albopictus to dengue transmission. In addition, since Ae. albopictus is capable of breeding in tree holes and similar woodland habitats, as well as in urban environments, it may potentially serve as a link between jungle yellow fever and urban transmission of this virus in Brazil.