NZ on zika alert as larvae trapped at Auckland Airport

MOSQUITO larvae that carry the Zika virus have been trapped at Auckland Airport near the international baggage area.

The Ministry of Health says last Thursday specialist mosquito staff contracted by Auckland Airport captured the exotic mosquito larvae in their trap inside the terminal.

The specimens were positively identified as Aedes aegypti commonly called the yellow fever mosquito.

The mosquito can transmit a number of human diseases including Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Ross River virus, and Zika virus.

An intensive surveillance programme has now been initiated by Auckland Airport and Auckland Regional Public Health Services.

A number of adult and larval traps have been set inside and outside the international terminal building alongside the airport's existing permanent surveillance programme.

Potential mosquito breeding sites have been identified and treated or eliminated.

There would also be increased surveillance over the next 30 days, covering three potential breeding cycles.

To date no more exotic mosquitos have been trapped.

This is the first time Aedes aegypti larvae have been found in traps in New Zealand.

On two previous occasions in 2007 and 2010 larvae were found on board incoming vessels from the South Pacific.

To date there have been 75 confirmed and probable cases of Zika in New Zealand this year.

The Ministry of Health says the majority of patients treated have travelled to Tonga and Samoa during the incubation period.

Only person had not travelled overseas and contracted the disease.