West Nile virus found in West Haven

NEW HAVEN >> The Connecticut Mosquito Management Program announced that mosquitoes trapped in West Haven on June 29 tested positive for West Nile virus.

These results represent the first WNV positive mosquitoes identified in the state by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station this year.

Connecticut residents are reminded to protect themselves from mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases.

“The West Nile virus season has begun,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the CAES.

“Late June to mid-July is when we typically first detect WNV infection in mosquitoes and we anticipate further build-up of the virus from now through September,” Armstrong said.

“This is a reminder for residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites.” said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, director of the CAES.

“We encourage everyone to take simple measures such as wearing mosquito repellent and covering bare skin, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active,” said Andreadis.

To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes residents should:

• 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 more 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.

West Nile virus has been detected in the state every year since 1999.

During 2016, CAES trapped and tested more than 170,000 mosquitoes and identified WNV-positive mosquitoes collected at trap sites in 20 towns in four counties (Fairfield, Hartford, New Haven and New London) collected July 6-Sept. 28.

In addition, one Connecticut resident was diagnosed and hospitalized with encephalitis due to WNV infection.

Since 2000, 131 human cases of WNV have been diagnosed in Connecticut residents including three fatalities.

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, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Connecticut.

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.

Positive findings are reported to local health departments and on the CAES website at http://www.ct.gov/caes/mosquitotesting.

For information, visit www.ct.gov/mosquito.