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    Thursday, July 18, 2024

    Milford resident ill with state's first West Nile virus case this summer

    A resident of Milford has tested positive for West Nile virus infection, the first human case of the illness associated with the virus in Connecticut this season, the state Department of Public Health announced Tuesday.

    The patient, between 70 and 79 years of age, became ill during the fourth week of August with encephalitis and remains hospitalized, the health department said in a news release.

    Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of antibodies to West Nile virus.

    This person did not travel out of the state before becoming ill.

    "The identification of a Connecticut resident with West Nile virus associated illness that required hospitalization underscores the potential seriousness of infection,” said public health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino.

    “Using insect repellent, covering bare skin and avoiding being outdoors during the hours of dusk and dawn are effective ways to help keep you from being bitten by mosquitoes,” Pino said.

    Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, said the weather continues to be favorable for mosquitoes to transmit the virus.

    “These mosquitoes are most abundant in urban and suburban areas with dense human populations,” he said.

    He said that mosquitoes that tested positive for the virus were identified in Milford on Aug. 15.

    West Nile virus has been detected in the state every year since 1999. Last year, it was detected in mosquitoes collected at trap sites in 24 towns.

    In addition, there were 10 confirmed human cases of West Nile virus infection last year.

    In Connecticut, the risk is highest during August and September and typically subsides in October as mosquitoes die off due to lower temperatures, the health department said.

    For information on West Nile virus, other mosquito-borne viruses and how to prevent mosquito bites, visit www.ct.gov/mosquito.

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