New map shows the presence of Anopheles maculipennis s.l. mosquitoes in Europe

News story
12 Sep 2018

A new map shows the geographic distribution of Anopheles maculipennis s.l. in the EU/EEA and neighbouring countries.

Anopheles maculipennis s.l. Female. © ECDC/Francis Schaffner

An. maculipennis s.l. is a complex of mosquito species native to Europe, which are found in different geographical areas; some species are found in certain areas concurrently. Adult stages of several members of the complex cannot be distinguished morphologically.

The data for the map is collected by vector-borne disease experts, through VectorNet, a joint initiative of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The Anopheles maculipennis complex was responsible for most of the malaria transmission in EU countries. Malaria was endemic in the EU until the 1970s. Now, around 99% of the malaria cases reported each year in the EU are travel related. Local malaria transmission is possible in the EU in areas where Anopheles mosquitoes are present, but it is rare.

Sporadic locally acquired malaria cases have been reported in the EU, related to either transmission by a local Anopheles mosquito infected by a returning traveller (introduced malaria) or by an infected mosquito transported by aircraft from a malaria-endemic country (airport malaria):

  • Ten locally acquired cases were reported in 2016, seven cases in 2015, and five cases in 2014. See the ECDC Surveillance Atlas.
  • Three events of local malaria transmission by Anopheles mosquitoes were recorded in the EU in 2017: in Greece and northern Cyprus (Plasmodium vivax), and in France (Plasmodium falciparum), see ECDC risk assessment.
  • The last local outbreak in the EU was recorded in Greece, in 2013.

Malaria is an acute or subacute infectious disease causing 350–500 million infections worldwide and approximately 1 million deaths annually. Malaria transmission occurs in large areas of Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the South Pacific.  See also: malaria factsheet.

See the new map: