Mosquitoes trapped in East Haven test positive for West Nile virus

The state Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped in East Haven on July 16 have tested positive for West Nile virus.

These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in the state by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station this year. State residents are reminded to protect themselves from mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases.

“The first West Nile virus mosquitoes of the season have been identified,” Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the experiment station, said in a news release. “Early to mid-July is when we typically start to see an increase in infected mosquitoes, and this is a reminder for people to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites now through September.”

To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes residents should minimize time 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 light-colored long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods or when mosquitoes are most active; use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure; and consider using mosquito repellent when outdoors.

In 2013, West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes were trapped in 22 municipalities, and four state residents contracted West Nile virus infections.

The state maintains 91 mosquito trapping stations in 72 communities around the state. Positive findings are reported to local public health agencies and at www.ct.gov/caes.

In addition to West Nile virus, mosquitoes also carry chikungunya virus, an illness that caused an outbreak of illness on the French island of St. Martin, the mosquito management program said. Since then, cases of chikungunya fever have occurred in more than 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere. This year, 11 Connecticut residents have acquired the disease while traveling out of the country, including six who traveled to the Dominican Republic, four who travelled to Haiti and one who travelled to St. Martin.

Illness associated with chikungunya viral infections is rarely fatal, although its symptoms include fever, severe joint pain, or swelling or rashes, and the arthritis-like symptoms can last for years.

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