Hartford – The State Mosquito Management Program announced today that eight human cases of WNV infection have been identified in Connecticut so far this year. Six of the eight cases are Bridgeport residents. One patient is a resident of Shelton and one a resident of New Haven.
The eight patients are all adults between 30 and 90 years of age. Onsets of illness occurred from the third week of August to the fourth week of September. Seven of the eight patients were hospitalized; one patient remains in the hospital.
West Nile infected mosquitoes were first identified in Waterford on July 20th and most recently in East Haven on September 29th.
“While the threat of virus transmission to people continues to subside, the two most recent patients became ill during the fourth week of September which is late in the season in Connecticut,” said Dr. Matthew Cartter, State Epidemiologist with the Connecticut Department of Public Health. “We continue to remind residents of the importance of taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites until there is sustained cold weather and mosquitoes are no longer active.”
“Statewide the numbers of West Nile virus infected mosquitoes have declined significantly,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, Medical Entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. “However, there is still risk of new human infections in Connecticut towns where infected mosquitoes have been repeatedly identified, especially along the coast in New Haven and Fairfield counties."
Health officials said that the six human cases in Bridgeport is an unusual number in one town and the DPH has asked to review Bridgeport’s mosquito management plan.
At this time of year, with cooler weather and declining mosquito populations, using larvicides to kill immature mosquitoes before they become adults and spraying pesticides to control adult mosquito populations is not recommended. Health officials recommended the following to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
· Homeowners and businesses should remove standing water around their property.
· 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.
shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long
periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light
colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the
· 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.
Exposure to mosquitoes and the risk of acquiring WNV infection varies by season and geographic region. In Connecticut, the risk is highest during August and September and typically subsides in October as mosquitos die off due to lower temperatures.
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.