Residents are urged to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites
Hartford – The State Mosquito Management Program announced today that an increasing number of mosquitoes trapped and tested by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station are positive for West Nile virus (WNV). Residents are cautioned that August and September are generally the months when people are at the highest risk of acquiring WNV infections in Connecticut.
“Mosquito-borne illness is a threat to take seriously, especially from now well into September,” said Dr. Jewel Mullen, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health. “I ask everyone to prevent mosquito bites by eliminating standing water around your home, making sure your door and window screens are in good repair, and covering bare skin and using insect repellent when outside – especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.”
“We continue to find WNV infected mosquitoes in new locations and in locations where the virus has already been identified, increasing concern for human infections,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, Medical Entomologist at the CAES. “This is the time of the summer when West Nile virus activity reaches its peak in the mosquito population."
During 2015, WNV-positive mosquitoes have now been identified in 15 towns: Bridgeport, Chester, Darien, East Haven, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Groton, Guilford, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford, Waterford, West Haven and Wethersfield. To date, no human cases of WNV infection have been reported this year.
During 2014, WNV-positive mosquitoes were identified in a total of 15 towns. Six people were reported with WNV-associated illnesses. There were no fatalities; however, five people were hospitalized.
The State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program is a collaborative effort involving the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Agriculture, and the University of Connecticut Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science. These agencies are responsible for monitoring the potential public health threat of mosquito-borne diseases.
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. Positive findings are reported to local health departments and on the CAES website at http://www.ct.gov/caes/mosquitotesting.
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.