West Nile virus positive mosquitoes identified in 16 towns this season
Pachaug State Forest remains closed due to eastern equine encephalitis virus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
August 29, 2013 Contact: William Gerrish
Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Contact: Dr. Theodore Andreadis
Hartford – The State Mosquito Management Program today announced a Connecticut resident has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) infection. This is the first human case of WNV associated illness identified in Connecticut this season.
The Stratford resident, between 60-69 years of age, became ill during the last week of July and reported being bitten by mosquitoes prior to onset of illness. The illness was characterized principally by joint and muscle pain, and diarrhea. Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of antibodies to WNV. The person was not hospitalized and is recovering.
"If you’re planning to spend time outdoors this Labor Day weekend, it’s very important that you take steps to protect yourself from mosquito bites,” said Department of Public Health veterinarian, Dr. Randall Nelson. “Using insect repellent, covering bare skin and avoiding being outdoors during the hours of dusk and dawn are effective ways to help keep you from being bitten.”
West Nile virus activity varies each year and is difficult to predict. Generally, the greatest risk for transmission to people from infected mosquitoes is from early-August to mid-September. This season, circulation of WNV positive mosquitoes is highest in coastal towns from Greenwich to Branford and in central Connecticut in Glastonbury.
“Although mosquito populations are declining, we continue to find mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus in several areas of the state,” said Dr. Theodore G. Andreadis, Chief Medical Entomologist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES). “This trend is likely to continue through September with further expansion to more communities.”
Since June 27, the CAES has identified WNV positive mosquitoes at trap sites in 16 towns: Branford, Bridgeport, East Haven, Fairfield, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Groton, Manchester, New Haven, Norwalk, Plainfield, Stamford, Stratford, Wallingford, Waterford and Westport.
Mosquitoes with eastern equine encephalitis virus have been identified in the Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown prompting the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to close part of the forest to recreational activities and two camp grounds there. In addition, ultra-low volume ground spraying was conducted in the area this week to reduce the number of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes collected at trap sites to the south in North Stonington and to the north in Plainfield have tested negative. People in the immediate area surrounding the forest should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites when outdoors.
To monitor the situation, the CAES will continue to trap mosquitoes for EEE and WNV; statewide results are available on the CAES website as they become available.
For information on West Nile virus and EEE, including what you can do to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito.