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Durham University

Department of Biosciences

Academic Staff

Publication details for Prof Steve Lindsay

Hutchinson, R.A. & Lindsay, S.W. (2006). Perceived nuisance of mosquitoes on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, UK. Journal of Biosocial Science 38(5): 707-712.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Little is known about the biting nuisance of mosquitoes in the UK, despite the high numbers found in some locations. A telephone questionnaire survey was used to determine the perceived nuisance of biting insects on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, a place notorious for mosquitoes. Two hundred randomly selected individuals were interviewed and asked if they suffered from mosquito bites. If they answered yes, they were asked to describe where and when they were bitten, and what measures they took against mosquitoes. Forty-six per cent of respondents completed the questionnaire. Of those, 50% reported being bitten by mosquitoes, mostly outside during the summer. Seventy per cent said that most biting occurred during the evening and night. Of those respondents who protected themselves against biting (27), most used repellents (70%), with the remainder changing their behaviour to avoid mosquitoes, including closing or screening windows (33%), wearing thicker clothes (7%) and spraying insecticide (4%). One person slept under a bednet in summer (4%). This study provides evidence that on the Isle of Sheppey mosquitoes are considered a major nuisance by a sizeable proportion of the population. Since there is growing interest in the threat posed by new and emerging diseases in the UK, health authorities will need to make substantial efforts to inform and reassure the public about the threats posed by mosquitoes in areas where they are common.