FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
June 6, 2008 Contact: William Gerrish
Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Contact: Dr. Theodore Andreadis
Hartford – 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 2008. The mosquito trapping and testing program, coordinated by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), began on June 2nd. First test results will be available next week.
“With the start of sustained warm weather mosquitoes will be out and about, particularly at dusk and dawn,” said Governor M. Jodi 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 6, 2008, human cases were reported in three states this season: Arizona, Mississippi and Tennessee. In addition, WNV activity in birds, animals or mosquitoes was identified in the following states: Alabama, California, Florida and South Carolina. There have been no WNV findings in the northeastern United 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., M.B.A. “We also ask the public to reduce mosquito breeding areas around homes by eliminating standing water,” he stated.
In 2007, four people were confirmed with WNV infection in Connecticut and included residents of Darien, Hartford, New Haven and Woodbridge. There were no fatalities. No human cases of EEE were identified.
The CAES maintains 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. Starting in 2006 and continuing during 2008, deaths of wild birds are not used to evaluate the risk of WNV. Monitoring and risk assessment for WNV emphasizes 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 www.ct.gov/caes
- The Department of Environmental Protection Web site at www.ct.gov/dep
- The Department of Agriculture Web site at www.ct.gov/doag
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at www.cdc.gov