Another Five Human Cases of West Nile Virus Identified In Connecticut
Total so far for the season stands at 15 human cases of West Nile Virus
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that it has learned of five more Connecticut residents who have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) infection, bringing the total for this season to 15 human WNV cases.
Three of these cases involved residents of Fairfield County (Danbury, Norwalk, and Stamford). The fourth patient is a resident of Thompson in Windham County and the fifth is from Westbrook in Middlesex County. Ages range from 40-70+, and three of the five required hospitalization. Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of WNV antibodies in all five patients. All five patients became ill in early to mid-September.
“It is very unusual for us to have this many people seriously ill with WNV infection in September” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino. “More warm weather is forecast for this weekend and many Connecticut residents will be outdoors enjoying the state’s country fairs, family gatherings, and other events, especially in the early evening when mosquitoes are most active. Please take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. WNV infection is preventable.”
“Using insect repellent and wearing long- sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites will reduce your risk of getting WNV infection,” said Commissioner Pino. “I would also like to remind people who are over the age of 50 that you are more likely to develop serious symptoms of WNV infection and should take special care to avoid mosquito bites.”
“Although mosquito populations are declining, we continue to find WNV-infected mosquitoes throughout many regions of the state in our trapping program, and this is likely to continue for the next several weeks until the first hard frost in October” said Dr. Theodore G. Andreadis, Director The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
West Nile virus has been detected in the state every year since 1999. Before 2018, 134 human cases of WNV were diagnosed in Connecticut residents including three fatalities. Last year, three Connecticut residents were diagnosed with WNV infection. For more information on WNV human cases in CT click here.
What are the symptoms of WNV?
- Serious Symptoms in a Few People. About 1 in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
- Milder Symptoms in Some People. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected will have symptoms which can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days to as long as several weeks.
- No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all, but there is no way to know in advance if you will develop an illness or not.
Tips for reducing mosquitoes around homes
Mosquitoes require water for reproduction. The following are measures that can help reduce mosquitoes:
- ·•Eliminate standing water suitable for mosquitoes. Dispose of water-holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire swings.
- ·•Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling.
- ·•Clean clogged roof gutters.
- ·•Turn over objects that may trap water when not in use, such as wading pools and wheelbarrows.
- ·•Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.
- ·•Clean and chlorinate swimming pools. When pools are not in use, use pool covers and drain when necessary.
Tips for avoiding mosquito bites when outdoors
Mosquitoes require a blood meal for reproduction. The following are measures that can help reduce bites from mosquitoes that feed on people:
- Be particularly careful at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors.
- Consider the use of CDC-recommended mosquito repellents, containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, or 2-undecanone, and apply according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.
- When using DEET, use the lowest concentration effective for the time spent outdoors (for example, 6 percent lasts approximately two hours and 20 percent for four hours) and wash treated skin when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the hands of children, or to infants less than two months old.
- Also, be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair to avoid mosquito bites when indoors.
The CAES maintains a network of 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state. Mosquito traps are set Monday through 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 virus and how to prevent mosquito bites, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito.