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Aedes aegypti, the mosquito capable of transmitting West Nile Virus (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention )
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The East Shore District Health Department has received confirmation that two mosquitoes recently collected in East Haven have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). These results represent the first WNV positive mosquitoes identified in the state by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year. The mosquitoes were collected from a CAES mosquito surveillance trap located in the vicinity of the corner of Kenneth Street and Burgess Street.
“The WNV season has begun,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the CAES. “We typically first detect WNV in mosquitoes from late June to mid-July, so this year’s detection is later than usual. Nevertheless, virus activity can escalate very quickly and we anticipate further build-up of the virus from now through September.”
The species of mosquito carrying WNV can be found in a wide variety of places, such as old tires, stagnant pools of ground water, artificial containers, or catch basins.
WNV has been detected in the state every year since 1999. Last year, CAES detected higher than normal levels of WNV-infected mosquitoes with a total of 393 positive mosquito samples collected from 53 municipalities. The majority of WNV activity was detected in densely populated urban and suburban regions in Fairfield, Hartford ,and New Haven counties, consistent with prior years. Twenty-three human cases, with one fatality, were reported last year.
Personal protection measures include:
• Minimize time spent outdoors around dusk and dawn.
• Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.
• Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long sleeved shirt when and where mosquitoes are most active.
• Use mosquito netting when sleeping and to protect small babies when outdoors.
• Consider the use of mosquito repellent containing DEET when it is necessary to be outdoors.
East Shore District Health is also advising that people continue eliminating stagnant water in and around their properties. • Dispose of water holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, tire swings.
• Drill holes in bottoms of recycling containers.
• Clean clogged roof gutters
• Turn over plastic wading pools, wheelbarrows, etc.
• Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used, including pool covers.
• Use landscaping to eliminate standing water on your property.
The CAES maintains a network of 92 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state. CAES begins mosquito trapping and testing in June and continues into October. Positive findings are reported to local health departments and on the CAES website at https://portal.ct.gov/caes.
For information on WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases, what can be done to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, and the latest mosquito test results and human infections, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website at portal.ct.gov/mosquito.
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