The mosquito species Aedes albopictus originated in Southeast Asia, but has spread during the last 30-40 years to North, Central and Southern America, parts of Africa, northern Australia and several countries in Europe. Since its first appearance in Albania in 1979 and in Italy in 1990, Aedes albopictus has been reported in more than 15 European countries. It is listed as one of the top 100 invasive species by the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG, 2009) and is considered to be the most invasive mosquito species in the world.
Introductions into Europe have occurred mainly via the used tyre trade and importation of lucky bamboo with further dispersal via road vehicles. The Ae. albopictus cancolonise new geographical locations due to its ability to adapt to different climates: the mosquito species produces cold resistant eggs, with temperate strains that are capable of surviving through cold winters in more northerly latitudes. Like many of the invasive mosquito species, its preference for container habitats such as tyres and vases within peri-domestic settings has resulted in increased potential for contact with humans.
Aedes albopictus is an important known vector of chikungunya virus. It was the primary vector in outbreaks of chikungunya virus in La Reunion in 2005-2007, Italy in 2007 and France in 2010. Aedes albopictus can also be a vector of dengue virus, as such it caused outbreaks in Reunion Island 1977-78, Mauritius in June 2009; it was also incriminated as dengue virus vector in France and Croatia in 2010.