Avoiding West Nile Virus - Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do if West Nile virus is found in my area?
You can and should try to reduce the risk of mosquitoes feeding on you.
- 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 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 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.
What measures are in place to protect the population?
In Connecticut, state and local governments have implemented an aggressive West Nile virus surveillance and response plan. Restriction of mosquito breeding habitats in each community can greatly lessen the potential for West Nile virus to become a significant human health threat.
How can I protect my family and myself from West Nile virus?
You can begin by reducing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding around your home.
- Empty standing water from used or discarded tires that may have accumulated on your property (e.g., tire swings).
- Dispose of cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property. Do not overlook containers that have become overgrown by vegetation.
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left out of doors. Drainage holes that are located on the sides collect enough water for mosquitoes to breed in.
- Clean clogged roof gutters on an annual basis, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use. A wading pool becomes a mosquito producer if it is not used on a regular basis.
- Turn over wheelbarrows and do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths. Both provide breeding habitat for domestic mosquitoes. Change water in birdbaths and wading pools on a weekly basis.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens are fashionable but become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family that goes on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property. Mosquitoes can develop in any puddle that lasts more than 7 to 10 days during the summer.
Content last updated on April 5, 2019.