FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Even as mosquito season winds down, the Connecticut Department of Public Health is warning Fairfield County residents that the threat of West Nile virus remains as the state's first human case was reported.
So far this season, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has identified West Nile-infected mosquitoes in Bridgeport, Danbury, Darien, Norwalk, and Stamford as well as in Hartford, Litchfield, New Haven and New London counties.
One person, a Bridgeport resident, has been reported with West Nile-associated illnesses acquired in Connecticut this season. The person, who is between 40 and 49 years old, became ill during the third week of August, was hospitalized with West Nile virus-associated meningitis and is recovering.
“The number of affected towns continues to increase,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. “While early to mid-August is when the number of positive mosquito pools typically peaks, the peak this season appears to have been delayed with continued risk of transmission to people through September.”
As of Sept. 10, West Nile virus has been detected in 52 mosquito pools, including above-average positive pools during the last reporting week ending Sept. 6. The other affected towns include Cornwall, East Haven, Groton, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, Stratford, West Hartford and Wethersfield.
West Nile virus is characterized by high fever, severe headache and blurred vision. During 2013, four Connecticut residents developed WNV-associated illnesses. None were fatal.
Eastern equine encephalitis virus, another mosquito-borne virus often found in the Northeast, has not been detected in Connecticut this year.
“This season Connecticut has been fortunate to have only moderate levels of WNV-infected mosquitoes. But mosquitoes may remain active well into September and insect-borne illness remains a threat,” said Dr. Jewel Mullen, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health. “I ask everyone to prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellent and covering bare skin, especially during dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.”
To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes residents should:
- Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Be sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair.
- Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeve shirt when outdoors for long periods or when mosquitoes are most active.
- Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.
For information on West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis viruses and how to prevent mosquito bites, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito .
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