Residents are urged to eliminate standing water on properties and to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites in areas where WNV or EEE are identified
The State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program today announced it is monitoring mosquitoes for the presence of viruses that can cause illness in people including West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE). The mosquito trapping and testing program, coordinated by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), will begin June 1. First test results will be available the week of June 8. The program also released surveillance results from the 2014 season.
Last season, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) trapped and tested over 200,000 mosquitoes and identified WNV-positive mosquitoes at trap sites in 15 towns: Bridgeport, Cornwall, Danbury, Darien, East Haven, Greenwich, Groton, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford, West Hartford and Wethersfield. As in prior years, the majority of WNV activity was detected in urban and suburban regions in southwestern (Fairfield and New Haven counties) and central Connecticut (Hartford County).
During 2014, six people were reported with WNV-associated illnesses; they were residents of: Bridgeport (2), East Haven, Stamford, Stratford and West Haven. Clinical syndromes were classified according to the national surveillance case definition and included WNV fever (3), meningitis (2) and encephalitis (1). The median age of the patients was 46 years (range = 23-63 years) with onset of symptoms from the third week of August 18 through the first week of October. There were no fatalities. While WNV infections are usually not fatal, patients with meningitis or encephalitis may suffer long lasting symptoms of the nervous system.
Like WNV, people can be infected with EEE when bitten by mosquitoes carrying the virus. EEE is a rare illness in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Most cases occur in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states. EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33 percent mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors.
During 2014 no EEE infected mosquitoes were identified and no human or domestic animal infections were reported. However, during 2013 there was significant EEE virus circulation in eastern Connecticut, including infected mosquitoes, a horse, pheasant flocks and a fatal human infection.
Connecticut Mosquito Management Program
The response to mosquito transmitted diseases in Connecticut is a collaborative inter-agency effort involving the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Connecticut (UCONN). These agencies are responsible for monitoring mosquito populations and 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. CAES begins mosquito trapping and testing in June and continues into October.
For information on WNV and EEE, what can be done to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, the latest mosquito test results and human infections, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito