Tony Ryall, David Carter
1 July, 2010
New Zealand first to wipe out the ‘Aussie mozzie'
Health Minister Tony Ryall and Biosecurity Minister David Carter say officials have today declared New Zealand free of the Southern Saltmarsh Mosquito, the first country in the world to wipe out the ‘Aussie mozzie'.
The mosquito, a vicious day-time biter capable of carrying Ross River Virus, has been successfully eradicated following an 11-year programme. The last mosquito larvae were found in December 2008.
"Ross River Virus can be very debilitating and it is a huge achievement for New Zealand to be the first country in the world, we are advised, to successfully wipe out this saltmarsh mosquito," says Mr Ryall.
Responsibility for the eradication programme was handed over by the Ministry of Health to MAF Biosecurity New Zealand in 2006.
"The economic impact of this mosquito establishing permanently was estimated at around $120 million for direct health costs alone, let alone lost productivity, the likely impacts on tourism and the costs of mosquito control" says Mr Carter.
From today MAF takes over responsibility from the Ministry of Health for the surveillance of mosquitoes that may be found in salt marshes around New Zealand. Health will continue mosquito surveillance at the country's ports and airports.
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