First WNV-Positive Mosquito Pool of Season identified in East Haven
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
July 22, 2014 Contact: William Gerrish
Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Contact: Dr. Philip Armstrong
Hartford – The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped in East Haven on July 16, 2014 have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in the state by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year. Connecticut residents are reminded to protect themselves from mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases.
“The first West Nile virus mosquitoes of the season have been identified,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, Medical Entomologist at the CAES. “Early to mid-July is when we typically start to see an increase in infected mosquitoes, and this is a reminder for people to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites now through September.”
- 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-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods, or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
- Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.
West Nile virus activity varies each year and is difficult to predict. In 2013, WNV-positive mosquitoes were trapped in 22 municipalities; the first were trapped in Norwalk on July 2. In addition, last year four Connecticut residents were identified with WNV infections including one from Bridgeport, one from Stratford, and two from Stamford.
Monitoring and risk assessment for WNV emphasizes mosquito trapping and testing results. The CAES maintains a network of 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state. Mosquito traps are set Monday – Thursday nights 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 and on the CAES website at www.ct.gov/caes.
In December 2013, chikungunya virus, another virus carried by mosquitoes, caused an outbreak of illness on the French island of St. Martin. Since then, cases of chikungunya fever have occurred in more than 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere. In 2014, 11 Connecticut residents have acquired the disease while traveling out of the country including six who traveled to the Dominican Republic, four who travelled to Haiti and one who travelled to St. Martin.
Illness associated with chikungunya viral infections is rarely fatal, although its symptoms include fever, severe joint pain, or swelling or rashes and the arthritis-like symptoms can last for years.
A complete list of countries and territories where chikungunya virus is a concern is available on the CDC chikungunya geographic distribution webpage. Travelers should check the CDC’s Travelers’ Health webpage for current warnings and recommendations. Information is also available on the DPH web site.
For information on West Nile virus and what you can do to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website at www.ct.gov/mosquito.
Mosquito pools that test positive for WNV and EEE, as well as human cases of these illnesses, will also be posted on the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website.