by Zeynep Cermen
ISTANBUL, June 22 (Xinhua) -- A plastic bottle filled with half water left under a certain temperature for six to seven days is enough to create a convenient environment for the reproduction of millions of "aggressive mosquitoes," warned a local health official in Turkey's largest city Istanbul.
Onder Yuksel Eryigit, head of the Istanbul municipality health department, told Xinhua that "this mosquito species (Aedes albopictus) is seen in all the districts of Istanbul... They are very aggressive, and when sucking blood, they stick their heads under people's skin and cause extreme skin lesions and diseases."
Such mosquitoes enter the country through transportation, mostly with freighters, and spread in big numbers under favorable breeding conditions, said Eryigit, noting that Turkey's Marmara, Aegean, and Black Sea regions are significantly infested.
To better cope with the growing problem, the Istanbul municipality has recently established a scientific council, consisting of doctors and academics from veterinary faculties, to draw a road map and make the necessary warnings to citizens.
About 200 traps have been installed in Istanbul to do species detection and population analysis, some 180 teams have been chasing round the clock the larvae of these mosquitoes, which pose a significant threat to human health, while they have so far detected nearly 200,000 breeding sources across Istanbul, according to Eryigit.
The authorities are asking the public to refrain from actions that cause mosquitoes to reproduce and be in close contact with the control teams, immediately submitting their disinfection requests.
"If the drinking water left for stray animals is not changed at certain intervals, it becomes a source. Second-hand tires, in which rainwater accumulates, also become a suitable breeding ground," Eryigit pointed out.
He also warned that if water containers under flower pots and water in decorative ponds are not changed periodically, they can become a convenient breeding ground for mosquitoes.
The local authorities have carried out disinfection works with well-equipped vehicles and spraying machines in reeds, lakes, streams, and ponds against mosquitoes and other pests, such as houseflies, ticks, fleas, mice, and cockroaches, said Enes Turan, a crew chief.
"The aim is not to remove them from the natural cycle, not to destroy the biological chain, but allow them to remain in nature at a certain intensity in a way that does not create the potential for disease transmission," Eryigit noted.