– The State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program is again monitoring mosquitoes for the presence of viruses that can cause illness in people including West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE) in 2007. The mosquito trapping and testing program, coordinated by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), began on June 4th. To date all mosquitoes have tested negative.

“We have had a record amount of rainfall in many locations this spring and that has resulted in many mosquitoes being out and about, particularly at dusk and dawn,” said Governor Rell. “While I am encouraging all of the state’s residents to get out and enjoy the beauty that Connecticut has to offer, I also want to remind them to take appropriate precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes. West Nile Virus, eastern equine encephalitis, and other diseases have been detected in mosquitoes in our state during previous seasons, so it is important to heed announcements of mosquito testing results .”

As of June 12, 2007, WNV activity in birds, animals or mosquitoes was identified in the following states this season: California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Texas, and Virginia. In addition, human cases were reported in three states, Iowa, Mississippi and South Dakota. There have been no WNV findings in the northeastern Unites States.

“We urge all Connecticut residents to take the necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites during the mosquito season,” said Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H. “The DPH recommends taking personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including the use of mosquito repellent, to allow Connecticut residents to continue to play and work outdoors safely. We also ask the public to reduce mosquito breeding areas around homes,” he stated.

During 2006, there was an increase in human WNV infections in northeastern states compared to 2005. In Connecticut, nine persons were confirmed with WNV infection including residents of seven towns in Fairfield (3), Hartford (1), and New Haven (3) counties. The Hartford County resident was infected while traveling out of state. Onset of illness ranged from August 8 – September 2. There was one fatality a resident of New Haven over 80 years. Infected mosquitoes were identified in a total of 22 towns. There were no human cases of EEE.

The CAES has established a network of 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state. Mosquito traps are set Monday – Thursday nights with trapping conducted at each site every ten days on a rotating basis. Mosquitoes are grouped (pooled) for testing according to species, collection site, and date. Each pool is tested for the presence of viruses of public health importance. Positive findings are reported to local health departments, in press releases and on the CAES web site.

Since 2000 there have been significant decreases in the numbers of dead birds sightings reported and those testing positive for WNV infection. During 2007, deaths of wild birds will not be used to evaluate the risk of WNV. Surveillance for WNV will emphasize mosquito trapping and testing results. In addition, the DPH Laboratory provides testing for hospitalized patients with suspected WNV related illnesses.

Precautions to avoid mosquito bites include:

  • Minimize time outdoors at dusk and dawn
  • Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors
  • Consider using mosquito repellent when it is necessary to be outdoors and always use them according to label instructions
  • The most effective repellents contain DEET or Picaridin.
  • When using DEET use the lowest concentration effective for the time spent outdoors (for
    example, 6% lasts approximately 2 hours and 20% for 4 hours) and wash treated skin
    when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the
    hands of children, or to infants less than 2 months.
Measures to reduce mosquitoes around the home include:
  • Dispose of water-holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, tire swings
  • Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling
  • Clean clogged roof gutters
  • Turn over objects that may trap water when not in use such as wading pools and wheelbarrows
  • Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and when not in use, pool covers
  • Use landscaping techniques to eliminate areas where water can collect on your property
Additional resources for information include:

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Web site at http://www.caes.state.ct.us.
The Department of Environmental Protection Web site at http://www.dep.state.ct.us.
The Department of Agriculture Web site at http://www.state.ct.us/doag
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at http://www.cdc.gov.