Exotic Mosquito Larvae Detected at Auckland Airport

Media release

08 March 2016

On the 3rd of March 2016, specialist mosquito staff contracted by Auckland Airport captured exotic mosquito larvae in their trap near the international baggage area.

On the 4th of March 2016, the specimens were positively identified as Aedes aegypti (commonly called the yellow fever mosquito).  This mosquito can transmit a number of human diseases including Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Ross River virus, and Zika virus.

The Ministry of Health says Airport staff and the Auckland Regional Public Health Service were notified and a response was immediately mounted.   There have been no subsequent finds of exotic mosquitos.

An intensive surveillance programme has been initiated by Auckland Airport and Auckland Regional Public Health Services with adult and larval traps deployed inside and outside the international terminal building to support the Airport's permanent surveillance programme outside the building. Potential mosquito breeding sites are identified and treated or eliminated.  Enhanced surveillance will be implemented for at least the next 30 days, covering three potential breeding cycles.

The yellow fever mosquito is not established in New Zealand but has been intercepted at ports and airports 14 times since 2000. It was detected three times in 2015 and once previously in 2016. This is the first time Aedes aegypti larvae have been found in traps in New Zealand. On two previous occasions (2007 and 2010) larvae were found onboard incoming vessels from the South Pacific.

In all cases a public health interception response was undertaken and the mosquito did not establish in New Zealand.

New Zealand has 12 native and 3 introduced species of mosquito, none of which have been found to transmit diseases in New Zealand. If some new species of mosquitoes became established here, these new mosquitoes could transmit serious diseases.

Background information is available on the Ministry of Health website:

This statement can be attributed to Dr Stewart Jessamine, Acting Director of Public Health

Back to top